Iceland become smallest nation to qualify for 2018 World Cup

Lionel Messi

Incredibly, Iceland is now the smallest ever nation to qualify for the World Cup in the history of the world's biggest tournament.

Goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson at the Laugardalsvöllur ensured Iceland, which has a population of less than 335,000, topped Group I of the European qualifying section. They reached the quarter-finals, beating England along the way, before finally falling to the hosts.

Iceland will make their first appearance at a World Cup finals next summer after winning their qualification group.

Portugal is three points behind Switzerland in Europe Group B and needs a victory to secure first place and the automatic spot for next year's World Cup.

Less than 18 months after sensationally knocking England out of Euro 2016, Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time on Monday following a 2-0 win over Kosovo.

Iceland and Serbia join host-nation Russian Federation, defending champion Germany, Spain, England, Belgium and Poland in the European contingent for the 2018 tournament.

Serbia held on comfortably in the closing stages, knowing that they were safely through as Ireland won 1-0 at Wales to seal second place in group D and book a play-off berth.

The win for the Egyptians, which sparked wild scenes of celebration in Alexandria and in capital city Cairo, saw them finish top of their six-team group in the African qualifying section. We just go to the World Cup, that's all that matters.

Qualification for Russian Federation 2018 has been won the hard way, winning a group containing Ukraine, Croatia and Turkey.

There were also 1-0 wins for Spain over Israel (Asier Illarramendi, 76th) and Italy over Albania (Antonio Candreva, 73rd).

Needing a win to grab second place in the group, the home side took control, wasting two great chances around the half-hour mark, with Taras Stepanenko driving a powerful shot outside the post and Yevhen Konoplyanka heading just wide moments later.

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