Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Iceland Smallest Nation Enters FIFA World Cup

Iceland Smallest Nation Enters FIFA World Cup

Iceland were the smallest nation to qualify for a major tournament when they reached Euro 2016, proceeding to make the quarter-finals after conquering England, and they will now take their place in the main draw for the finals on 1 December.

Iceland made World Cup history.

Iceland's soccer supporters were in raptures on Monday as they celebrated across the country after the national team qualified for their first World Cup.

It's somewhat symbolic to see Iceland pip Croatia to the first place in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group I.

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Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales, again without the injured Gareth Bale, meanwhile saw their hopes of only a second appearance at a World Cup finals dashed in Cardiff when James McClean struck with a firm shot for Ireland in the 57th minute.

Croatia booked their place in the play-offs by winning 2-0 in Ukraine, cementing second place behind Iceland, while Finland's dead rubber with Turkey ended 2-2.

Serbia also ended an eight-year major tournament drought by booking a place in Russian Federation after Aleksandar Prijovic scored after coming on as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 win over Georgia.

In Group D, the Republic of Ireland also snatched a play-off spot by edging their winner-takes-all clash with Wales 1-0.

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Prijovic struck the victor on 74 minutes in Belgrade as Serbia finished top of European qualifying Group D, with the Republic of Ireland heading to the play-offs after a 1-0 victory over Wales in Cardiff. The hardest thing was to get going again after our massive party in France, but we decided that we were just going to finish this.

Martin O'Neill's men finished second in the group behind Serbia, who firmed up automatic qualification with a 1-0 win over Georgia after Aleksandar Prijovic's late goal.

And while we're sure Iceland's celebrations are still well and truly underway - anyone heading to Russian Federation next year now has around eight months to prepare for scenes like this.

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