Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Iceland qualify for World Cup for first time

Iceland qualify for World Cup for first time

The result left the Icelanders two points in front of Croatia, which beat Ukraine 2-0 in Kiev to secure the playoff spot.

An emphatic 3-0 win in Turkey on Friday had sent Iceland top of the group ahead of the final match, but they struggled to impose themselves against the group's bottom side.

Iceland's starting lineup included four players based in England's second tier, two from the English Premier League, one from Italy's Serie A and one each from the top flights of Denmark, Sweden, Scotland and Russian Federation.

They have continued their remarkable form during their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, heading a group that included Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland and Kosovo.

The fans at packed Laugardalsvollur Stadium had to be patient but the wait was worth it. The team had previously lost out on qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as Iceland lost against Croatia in the qualification play-offs.

Serbia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 2010 by beating Georgia 1-0 in Belgrade with a goal by Aleksandar Prijovic's in the 74th minute.

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Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko has said that there are no fresh injury concerns, so he expected that the players will be stronger in today's match.

Elsewhere, Spain finished their World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 win in Israel on Monday.

With the Spanish's place at the showpiece already secured, Italy - who won 1-0 in Albania thanks to Antonio Candreva - will now have a play-off in November.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson gave Iceland even more breathing room with a second goal for his side in the 68th minute. Ukraine and Croatia face each other in a win-or-go-home matchup where the victor will be secured at least a play-off place.

Iceland's Aron Einar Gunnarsson and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson celebrate at the final whistle.

The Kosovo national team is competing for the first time in qualification for a major tournament and they have 1 point after 9 matches, having only scored three goals.

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