World Cup Russia 2018: Iceland – Preview, Squad and Potential Line-Up

World Cup Russia 2018: Iceland – Preview, Squad and Potential Line-Up

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The excitement for Iceland’s participation in the World Cup is hard to hide. The smallest country in the world to EVER qualify for the tournament. Depending on your perspective, either the football Gods or the crooked executives at FIFA did not really help the Arctic country in their journey to the knock-out stages of the tournament. Iceland was drawn against three football giants, each on their own continent. Brazil, Croatia, and Nigeria will be the opponents. Brazil with almost 208 million inhabitants and Nigeria with 186 million will be competing with Iceland, a country with about 300,000 (!) citizens. This would by many be seen as something troublesome but rather, it is the opposite. Even if the small country with an unforgiving climate won’t be able to produce as much quality players as for example Brazil. That is true. The Icelandic government and their football association have put massive amounts of money into the football scene in the country with building full-size indoor facilities in almost all cities in the country together with education a lot of referees to improve the game. What is so remarkable with the Icelandic team is their collectiveness. Their level is almost unheard off except maybe Germany. This is their greatest strength. Most of the players included in the Icelandic squad have been playing with each other since junior level for the national team. Over a decade of playing together, that creates a strong collective and knowledge about the players around you.

Even if Iceland is a small country and should absolutely not succeed in this tournament in theory, I’m not so sure about it. Sure, technically the team should end up last in the group but with players like Birkir Bjarnason, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Alfred Finnbogason, and Aron Gunnarsson perhaps the team can repeat their successes two years ago in the Euros. Iceland proceeded through the group, drawing with winner Portugal and later beating England in the knock-out stages and sending them home early. The Icelandic dream was later destroyed by France but what the team had done was truly sensational. A fairytale that was too good to be true. Let’s hope that their journey will be similar this time, it is always fun to root for such an underdog.

Iceland will have a difficult time to advance through to the knock-out stages but definitely managed to come second in the group. All depends on the last game against Croatia. Forza Iceland!

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Below you can find Iceland’s official 23-man squad:

World Cup Russia 2018: Iceland - Preview, Squad and Potential Line-Up
World Cup Russia 2018: Iceland – Potential Line-Up

Goalkeepers:

Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram

Defenders:

Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson

Midfielders:

Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson

Forwards:

Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson

Fixtures:

Argentina vs Iceland – 16/06/2018 – 14.00 GMT
Nigeria vs Iceland – 22/06/2018 – 16.00 GMT
Iceland vs Croatia – 26/06/2018 – 19.00 GMT

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15,00 Iceland to win group D

3,75 Iceland to qualify for the knock-out stages from group D

2,10 Iceland to end up last in group D

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