Iceland becomes smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup

However, Iceland now stands as the smallest nation ever to have qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

It wouldn't have been a true Iceland victory without the Viking Chant, and the fans in Reykjavik did not disappoint.

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 previous smallest country to have reached the finals was Trinidad & Tobago in 2006, with 1.3 million people. Netherlands, for example, is loaded with top-tier talent and won't be heading to Russian Federation.

Iceland became the smallest country to qualify for the World Cup when they beat Kosovo 2-0 on Tuesday (AEDT) to book a place at their first finals in Russian Federation next year as winners of group I.

Keeping the momentum going from their inspiring run to the 2016 European Championship quarterfinals, Iceland topped Europe Group I and advanced automatically to the finals in Russian Federation next year at the expense of favourites Croatia.

The Icelandic team knew that a win was needed against Kosovo if either Ukraine or Croatia won the grudge match between the Eastern European teams, which took place at the same time in Group I. Croatia won the match 0-2 with two goals from Andre Kramaric.

The Euro 2016 quarter-finalists, who knocked out England in the last 16, have a population of about 335,000 and are now the only country to qualify for a World Cup with fewer than one million inhabitants. Having defeated 2-0 by Iceland, Kosovo could just bag a single point in their maiden attempt to qualify for the global event. The attacking midfielder fired in his fourth qualifying goal following a neat solo effort in the penalty area.

Vanessa Coleman

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