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World Cup 2018: 5 insane facts you need to know about the Iceland football team

England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
Modified 11 Jun 2018, 15:57 IST

Iceland has finally qualified for the WC 2018. In doing so, they became the smallest nation to qualify for the tournament. Their first qualification should have arguably arrived at the 2014 World Cup, but a heart-wrenching 2-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia shattered their dreams, leaving the citizens of the Nordic nation waiting for another 4 years in the hopes of qualifying for the tournament.

Their dreams have finally come true, as they sealed their spot by defeating Kosovo on October 9th 2017. The team's success didn't end there, as Iceland finished at the top of its qualification group and ended the qualifying rounds with 2 more points than Croatia.

It's almost poetic that they've now been placed in the same group as Croatia and every fan of the team will be hoping Iceland will be able to exact revenge for their untimely elimination four years ago. Iceland's run to the World Cup is undoubtedly like a fairy tale, but there's no magic involved in the team's story, as a combination of pragmatism and sheer hard work has allowed them the opportunity to showcase their talents on a global stage.

Without much further ado, let's check out 5 insane facts about the Iceland football team you need to know.

#5 Their Head Coach is a part-time dentist

Dentist / Iceland Football Team Manager
Dentist / Iceland Football Team Manager

A brilliant team can be made to look completely ordinary on the pitch if it is sets foot on the it with a mediocre manager at its helm. The opposite is also true. Heimir Hallgrimmson is the man who has orchestrated Iceland's ascent to the top and he shows no signs of slowing down as the World Cup approaches.

Regardless of how the team's run is in the competition itself, Hallgrimmson's management of the team will be regarded as a massive success. He is no flash in the pan, his tactical nous and understanding of the strengths and limitations of his team have been of paramount importance in helping Iceland reach such heights.

Hallgrimmson's humble beginnings can be traced back to the island of Vestmanaeyjar, which has a population of just 5000 people, where he started out as a dentist before leaving to become the manager of the team. Taking his team to the World Cup hasn't stopped Hallgrimmson from working as a dentist on a part-time basis though and if that isn't dedication, we don't know what is.

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Published 10 Jun 2018, 21:33 IST
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