Iceland Becomes Smallest Country to Ever Qualify for World Cup

Iceland secured its spot at the 2018 World Cup with a 2-0 victory against Kosovo on Monday.

Iceland FIFA World Cup

Iceland's players including Iceland's forward Johann Berg Gudmundsson (2nd R) celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Iceland and Kosovo in Reykjavik, Iceland on October 9, 2017. Iceland qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2018 as smallest country ever after beating Kosovo 2-0 at home in Reykjavik. / AFP PHOTO / Haraldur Gudjonsson (Photo credit should read HARALDUR GUDJONSSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Iceland FIFA World Cup

Iceland made history this week by becoming the smallest nation by population to ever qualify for a FIFA World Cup.

The island country secured its spot Monday after goals by Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson earned a 2-0 victory against Kosovo in Reykjavik. 

Final whistle and first emotions. Iceland, it was unforgettable. #Russia2018 #WorldCup

— Oleksiy Mandziy (@o_mandziy) October 9, 2017

Dear world! See you in Russia 2018 #WorldCup #Iceland #Huh !

— RÚV Íþróttir (@ruvithrottir) October 9, 2017

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Iceland’s population was at 334,252 in 2016. SB Nation points out that about 5 percent of Icelanders are registered soccer players; one in 500 have obtained a UEFA B license or higher, which underscores just how serious the nation is about soccer.

"Here you need a UEFA B license to coach from under-10 level up and half of the UEFA B license to coach under-eights," Dagur Sveinn Dagbjartsson of the Icelandic FA told the Guardian in 2016. "This isn’t simply box-ticking. The UEFA B is one step off the level needed to coach a professional team in England. Yelling dads it ain’t […] Even if you start training at 4 years old you get good quality coaching. Every coach in Iceland gets paid, we don’t have any amateurs."

Trinidad and Tobago previously held the record for smallest country to qualify for a World Cup Finals with a population of 1.3 million. 

The 2018 World Cup will take place June 14 to July 15 in Russia. 

#WorldCup line-up, so far:


17/32 👌🏆

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) October 9, 2017


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