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Sigurdson's Strike Sends Iceland To Russia — FIFA WC Qualifier

Sigurdson's Strike Sends Iceland To Russia — FIFA WC Qualifier

After reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 in the debut at a major tournament, Iceland now have their first ticket to a World Cup, and will be the smallest nation based on population ever to compete in the finals.

They sealed a place in Russian Federation with a 2-0 victory against Kosovo in Reykjavik as Heimir Hallgrimsson's team knew a win against Group I's bottom side would guarantee top spot and an automatic qualifying place.

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.

The penultimate night of the UEFA World Cup Qualifying rounds was largely bereft of both goals and entertainment value for long periods.

The previous smallest nation to qualify were Trinidad & Tobago (technically two nations in one) who made it to Germany 2006 with a population of 1.37 million.

Striker Andrej Kramaric struck two superb second-half goals to grab second spot in Group I for Croatia and a place in the playoffs, as they beat Ukraine 2-0 in their final qualifier in Kiev.

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Less than 18 months after sensationally knocking England out of Euro 2016, Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time on Monday following a 2-0 win over Kosovo.

In Group D, the Republic of Ireland also snatched a play-off spot by edging their winner-takes-all clash with Wales 1-0.

Fireworks lit the sky in Reykjavik following the final whistle after Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 41st minute opened the scoring and provided the cross for Johann Gudmundsson to score in the second half for an historic victory for the home side.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain recorded their ninth win from 10 qualifying matches following a narrow 1-0 victory over Israel in Jerusalem courtesy of Asier Illarramendi's 25-yard half-volley. We just go to the World Cup, that's all that matters.

Serbia booked their place in the finals thanks to a 1-0 win against Georgia, with substitute Aleksandar Prijovic's strike on 74 minutes proving the difference.

"We all enjoy it when smaller teams have success", said the ex-Bolton man.


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