Less than a year and a half after impressing in France’s Euro 2016 reaching the quarterfinals, Iceland… have done it again, succeeding something truly remarkable.
It’s not just that they have qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in their history. It’s also that by doing so, they have become the smallest, by far, country, to have even ‘sent’ a national team to football’s biggest competition.
This is just odd. I don’t really know what to say. The mind is all over the place. When the qualifiers started, of course we were dreaming of going all the way, finishing in the top two, trying our luck in the playoffs maybe, but to finish first, and get a direct ticket to the World Cup finals… I don’t really know what to say
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson told reporters after his team’s 2-0 win over Kosovo, which secured them the top spot in the group, two points above second-placed Croatia, who beat Ukraine 2-0 in a ‘final’ in Kyiv.
Hallgrimsson was asked to comment on how his players did individually, and what he said about Cardiff City midfielder Aron Einar Gunnarsson will probably stay in Iceland football’s… history books.
What a player… I mean… Pele, Maradona and Aron Einar Gunnarsson!
the Iceland coach said, a line-hymn to his player who was remarkable indeed throughout these qualifiers.