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Iceland Becomes The Smallest Country To Qualify For World Cup

Iceland Becomes The Smallest Country To Qualify For World Cup

The previous smallest country to have reached the finals was Trinidad & Tobago in 2006 (1.3m people) followed by Northern Ireland (1.85m), Slovenia (2.08m), Jamaica (2.89m) and Wales (3.1m).

Iceland have once again captured the hearts of the nation with their journey to Russian Federation in stark contrast to England's more prosaic progress to the finals - but Magnusson says it can yet come good for Gareth Southgate's side.

Serbia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 2010 by beating Georgia 1-0 in Belgrade with a goal by Aleksandar Prijovic's in the 74th minute.

"After we lost against Croatia (in the 2014 World Cup playoffs) we aimed at qualifying next time".

The result left the Icelanders two points in front of Croatia, which beat Ukraine 2-0 in Kiev to secure the playoff spot.

That means the Viking chant popularized by Iceland fans at Euro 2016 will be heard across Russian Federation next year.

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Serbia held on comfortably in the closing stages, knowing that they were safely through as Ireland won 1-0 at Wales to seal second place in group D and book a play-off berth.

"Are you kidding! We are going to the World Cup!" was the reaction of the local TV commentator at the final whistle, and even Hallgrimsson seemed bewildered.

Keeping up its good form from the momentum it picked up when the team made it to the 2016 European Championship quarter-finals, Iceland led the first half of the qualifying match against Kosovo with a goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson.

They sit three points behind joint-second place Croatia and Ukraine, who are playing each other on Monday night, leaving Turkey with no chance of qualification. We just go to the World Cup, that's all that matters.

There were also 1-0 wins for Spain over Israel (Asier Illarramendi, 76th) and Italy over Albania (Antonio Candreva, 73rd). "The success is not an end in itself but a long journey towards a final destination", said Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrimsson.


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