World Cup 2018 Preview: Iceland

The exciting new generation of players that fared so well in Euro 2016 will spearhead Iceland’s maiden appearance at the World Cup.

Nickname(s): Strákarnir okkar (Our Boys)

Best Finish: Debutants

How they qualified: Iceland became the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup, winning qualifying Group I by seeing off the challenge of Croatia, Ukraine, and Turkey. A convincing and professional 3-0 win away at Turkey and a last minute winner in the 1-0 victory at home to Croatia will live long in the memory for an island which has a population of around 350,000.

Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson

After jointly masterminding a historic Euro 2016 campaign with Swede Lars Lagerback, Hallgrimsson was appointed in sole charge of the national team. A practicing dentist, the Icelandic coach has built a reputation for himself on the world scene finding himself at the rearguard of the Icelandic footballing revolution that has blossomed over the past four years after years of planning.

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Key Man: Gylfi Sigurdsson

The Everton midfielder has not enjoyed the best season of his career on Merseyside, but in reflection, he remains crucial to Iceland’s foray into Russia 2018. He was the top scorer for his country during qualification with four goals, and passing national hero Eidur Gudjohnsen’s record of 26 international goals seems inevitable.

Opening fixtures:

June 16 vs Argentina

June 22 vs Nigeria

June 26 vs Croatia

Squad: TBD

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