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Iceland vs Kosovo. FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I.

Laugardalsvollur.

Iceland 2

  • G Sigurdsson (40th minute)
  • J Gudmundsson (68th minute)

Kosovo 0

    Iceland 2-0 Kosovo: Iceland become smallest World Cup finals side

    Iceland's players celebrate after reaching the World Cup finals
    Image: Iceland's players celebrate after reaching the World Cup finals

    Iceland became the smallest country to qualify for the World Cup when they beat Kosovo 2-0 on Monday to book a place at their first finals in Russia next year as winners of Group I.

    Gylfi Sigurdsson settled their nerves with a superbly-taken goal five minutes before half-time as Iceland proved that their run to the 2016 European Championship quarter-finals, which included wins over Austria and England, was no fluke.

    Sigurdsson also set up the second for Johann Gudmundsson midway through the second half as Iceland completed the campaign by winning their final three games without conceding a goal.

    It was a remarkable achievement for a country which has a population of approximately 350,000. The previous smallest country to have reached the finals was Trinidad & Tobago in 2006, with 1.3 million people.

    Coached by part-time dentist Heimir Hallgrimsson, Iceland finished the group with 22 points from their 10 games.

    Iceland's starting line-up 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 Russia.

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    An emphatic 3-0 win in Turkey on Friday had sent Iceland top of the group for the final match, and although they struggled to impose themselves against the group's bottom side, they eventually came through with a win, before fireworks at the final whistle.

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