Iceland Becomes the Smallest Country Ever to Progress to the World Cup
After surprisingly lighting up Euro 2016, Iceland are once again placed into the football spotlight, this time by magically claiming a spot at next year’s World Cup being held in Russia. Along with grabbing one of the limited spots at the world’s largest sporting events, Iceland managed to become the smallest nation — by population — to every qualify.
The island country secured its spot Monday night in Reykjavik after beating Kosovo in their qualifying group for Russia 2018. The 2-0 victory saw goals by Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson. With last night’s win, Iceland have now won seven of their 10 Group I games in the World Cup qualifying stages.
According to United Nations Statistics Division, the Euro 2016 quarter-finalists, who knocked out England in the last 16, have a population of about 335,000. SB Nation points out that about 5 percent of Icelanders are registered soccer players; one in 500 have obtained a UEFA B license or higher. The World Cup Russia 2018 kicks off next summer from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
— RÚV Íþróttir (@ruvithrottir) October 9, 2017