After beating Kosovo 2-0 on Monday, Iceland became the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup. The experience gained from playing at the Euros played a huge part in the team’s successful qualification campaign.
Iceland’s successful World Cup qualification comes less than 18 months after dumping England out of Euro 2016 to reach the quarterfinals before being beaten by France. It is estimated around 33,000 people — 10% of the population — turned up in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik to give the players a hero’s welcome on their return from France back in 2016.
The fireworks rocketed into the sky above the Laugardalsvollur stadium to celebrate Iceland’s success in automatically qualifying from a tough group that included more established sides like Croatia, Turkey, Ukraine and Finland.
Iceland will be one of 32 nations at the World Cup in 2018, with the draw for the tournament to take place inside the concert hall at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace on December 1.
The 2018 World Cup’s first game will feature hosts Russia on June 14 in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.