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Iceland reach World Cup finals for first time

Iceland reach World Cup finals for first time

With a population of just over 335,000 people, it is by more than a million people the smallest World Cup finalist ever.

"I thought after Euro 2016 that the hardest thing would be to motivate ourselves again", Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who is a part-time dentist, told reporters after goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson secured his team's win over Kosovo.

The team managed to make the quarter finals of that tournament, and also upset competition giant England before celebrating with their now-famous clap.

Iceland made World Cup history.

"After we lost against Croatia (in the 2014 World Cup playoffs) we aimed at qualifying next time".

The chant was a success when Iceland made its major tournament debut at the Euros in France previous year, when it stunned by reaching the quarterfinals after drawing with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the group stage and eliminating England in the last 16.

Their national team finally qualified for their first ever major worldwide tournament at Euro 2016 and won hearts and minds along the way.

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The Eagles, captained by former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, were uninspiring in Belgrade but their 1-0 win against Georgia was enough to clinch top spot and ensure automatic qualification.

Being the smallest nation to get qualified for worldwide football's biggest event, Iceland topped the Europe Group 1, to book a place for the final show in Russian Federation, next year.

Europe: Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to Portugal's lineup for a decisive World Cup qualifier against Switzerland on Tuesday.

Ukraine and Croatia were locked at 0-0 in a battle for the one play-off spot when Andrej Kramaric converted a Luka Modric pass.

Group G was already settled prior to Monday's action and the top two both claimed narrow 1-0 away victories; Spain and Italy defeating Israel and Albania respectively.

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.