Iceland

Iceland

Appearances at World Cups

Iceland was considered as a little team, and being in one group with it at WC and Euro qualification stages was supposed a nice thing not a long time ago. Everything changed in the qualification for the 2014 WC when Iceland unexpectedly appeared in play-offs where they lost to more experienced Croatian players. But this didn't stop the team, at 2016 Euro, they already started well and played it as if they had been playing in such big tournaments all their life. The favourites of fans from all over the world got to Russia from a difficult group. Same Croatia, strong Turkey, Ukraine, which is ambitious for well-known reasons, and not very weak Finland kept Iceland company at the group stage in the qualification round. They successfully left the group by winning seven in ten matches, which ensured them the first place, and sending the national team of Croatia to play-offs.

Head coach and best player

It's curious that previous creator of successes Lars Lagerbäck said goodbye after the grandiose 2016 Euro. His assistance with an unpronounceable name and surname was appointed instead – Heimir Hallgrímsson. Two moments stand out in this coach's bio. Firstly, he additionally worked as a dentist before working as Lagerbäck's assistant. Secondly, he used to train only women's football teams. Hallgrímsson has recently come to Russia to give a speech on sports motivation, which is especially in surplus in his current national team of Iceland.

English Everton's midfielder Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson is the best player of this country. The football player rightly bears this proud name because the latest successes of the national team are linked with his name, from the sensational qualification of Iceland's second team to 2011 Euro. Sigurðsson is an unchangeable figure because the set piece is the main weapon of the current national team where Gylfi is in his element.

  • Preliminary squad: Halldórsson – Sævarsson, Árnason, R. Sigurðsson, Magnússon – Guðmundsson, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurðsson, Bjarnason – Finnbogason, Böðvarsson.

Base camp and cities

When you look at the line-up of Iceland, you're sincerely surprised at why this national team didn't choose the site in Rostov-on-Don as a base camp. The thing isn't that three representatives of the local football club are likely to be in the final call-up of Iceland but that they will play at least one game here. Volgograd isn't far, it's where Iceland will play the first match against Nigeria. And it's close to Moscow, give or take. However, representatives of the insular state made a decision the national team will feel better in Gelendzhik.

By Zulfat Shafigullin. Photo: fifa.com