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Iceland's World Cup Group Announced

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Iceland's World Cup Group Announced

Photo: Golli

Iceland will face Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Iceland was drawn out of Pot 3, alongside nations such as Egypt, Iran, Sweden. 'Strákarnir okkar', as the team is affably known as, will look to dispatch of these teams this summer in Russia.

The draw started at 15:00 GMT today, with Gary Lineker and Maria Komandnaya as presenters for the draw itself. The Icelandic squad will face Lionel Messi and the Argentina side at the Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow, on the 16th of June 2018. Iceland will play against Nigeria on the 22nd of June in Volgograd. Finally, Croatia and Iceland will square up on the 26th of June in Rostov. It will be a grudge match, as the teams were in the same qualification group, with Iceland beating Croatia 1-0 in Reykjavík.

By qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Iceland became the smallest nation ever to reach the tournament. Trinidad and Tobago were the previous holders of the record as the nation of 1.365 million people qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Icelanders numbered 338.349 people on the 1st of January 2017, so qualifying for the World Cup is a tremendous achievement.

It will be the second major tournament appearance for the men's squad after they participated in EURO 2016 in France. Iceland reached the quarter-finals of the tournament, eventually bowing out to host nation France, after having finished off England in the first knockout stage of the tournament.

The Icelandic squad topped their qualification group, Group I, in the European qualifying round for the World Cup. They managed to top sides such as Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey, with Finland and Kosovo rounding up the group.

There was an 18.2% chance beforehand that Iceland would meet Argentina. It was impossible for Iceland to face its Nordic compatriots Denmark and Sweden, as all three countries were drawn out of Pot 3.

Iceland currently stands in 21st place in the official FIFA rankings as the team has moved up the ranks in the last couple of year. A low point was reached when the men's national team was ranked 131st in October 2012.

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