The biggest surprise was sprung in the qualifiers of FIFA World Cup in many years by a country named Iceland whose population was not even half of New York City (3,35,000 to be precise). They became the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup finals. Hence it can be said that ‘The Ice Age cometh in Russia’.
They topped Group I of the European World Cup qualifiers which had more established sides in Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey and Finland. Their coach Heimer Hallgrimsson jointly with Lars Lagerback helped in the remarkable rise of Iceland soccer when they first qualified for 2016 European Championship. Later Hallgrimsson was given the sole charge of Iceland national team as they topped their qualifying group to reach their maiden FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
Iceland will be led by Aron Gunnarsson, the entrancing midfielder who also helped his club Cardiff City this season to qualify for English Premier League soccer. He will have able support from other team mates like Gylfi Sigurðsson(Everton FC,England), Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson(Burley FC,England), Alfreð Finnbogason(FC Augsburg,Germany) and Kolbeinn Sigþórsson(Nantes,France) who all ply their club soccer in top European leagues.
During the course of the qualifying rounds in Europe, Iceland displayed a fast counter attacking game play with a very compact midfield and robust defence. Soccer legend like Gary Linekar was highly impressed with their game play and tweeted “They’re a bloody good side.”Although they have been drawn in a very tough group(Group D) in Russia alongside teams like Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria, they might spring in a surprise which can see them qualify to the next stage (round of 16) along with the group favourite Argentina.