Two goals by Iceland over Kosovo were enough for the nation of some 335,000 people to reach the 2018 finals in Russia, setting a new record in the process. Iceland has secured a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, becoming the least nation by population to ever qualify for the showpiece event.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored as Iceland earned a 2-0 victory against Kosovo on Monday October 9 giving the team a record of seven wins, one draw and two defeats.
With some 335,000 residents, Iceland easily bested Trinidad & Tobago's population of 1.3 million in 2006 to become the least nation to secure passage to the World Cup finals. Northern Ireland, which last qualified in 1982 with a population of 1.5m, Slovenia (2002, just under 2m) and Kuwait (1982, 2m) complete the top five.
The World Cup appearance comes after Iceland marked their first trip to the European Championship in 2016, earning a famous 2-1 win over England en route to a quarter-final run. Iceland also came close to earning qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, finishing second in their group to Switzerland before falling 2-0 on aggregate to Croatia in a play-off.
But after 12 failed qualifying campaigns, the 13th has proven the lucky number for the nation, which continues to show population size does not matter when it comes to excelling at the international level.
Source: ATL FM Sports