Qualification history
In the space of four short years Iceland went from last place in their group in the qualifiers for South Africa 2010 to the play-offs for Brazil 2014, where defeat to Croatia denied them a maiden FIFA World Cup™ appearance. On the back of that massive improvement in performance, the talented Icelanders will look to maintain their upward curve in the fight for places at Russia 2018.

The team
Following the retirement of gifted veterans such as the former Barcelona man Eidur Gudjohnsen, the exciting new generation that fared so well in the qualifiers for Brazil 2014 will spearhead Iceland’s push for a berth in Russia. The goalscoring nous and talent of the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, which inspired the country to a UEFA EURO U-21 finals debut in 2011, will be crucial to their hopes of success.

The coach
Appointed to the Iceland job in 2011, Swedish coach Lars Lagerback took the side to the brink of qualification for Brazil and is now masterminding a promising UEFA EURO 2016 campaign, though the national football association has already announced that Heimir Hallgrimsson, his assistant of these last few years, will take up the reins for the Russia 2018 preliminaries.

The stat
5 -
The number of wins Iceland recorded in the Brazil 2014 qualifiers, equivalent to nearly a quarter of all their World Cup qualifying victories prior to that campaign.

The former stars
Eidur Gudjohnsen