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Iceland Football Team Preview & Prediction

After their surprise run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 - their first ever major tournament - Iceland will now make their World Cup debut at Russia 2018, starting in Group D with Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria.

  • Manager

    Heimir Hallgrimsson

  • Captain

    Aron Gunnarson (Cardiff City)

  • 22

    Fifa Ranking
    Position

  • 0

    World Cup
    Titles

How they qualified 

Iceland won Group I of the World Cup qualifying section, winning their final group games – against Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo – to beat Croatia to top spot. A perfect home record was key to Iceland’s qualification for Russia 2018, winning all five matches at home, including a crucial 1-0 defeat of Croatia.

Hordur Magnusson was Iceland’s hero in that victory against Croatia – his last-minute goal in Reykjavik proving vital in the long-run. Gylfi Sirgudsson was Iceland’s top scorer, however, with four goals – three of which came in those final three games.

World Cup record

Iceland will be making their World Cup debuts at Russia 2018, having only played in their first ever major tournament just two years ago at Euro 2016.

Iceland Team News, Updates & Facts

Iceland Team News

Iceland were the first country to name their World Cup squad, with Aron Gunnarsson and Gylfi Sigurdsson both selected despite suffering injuries at the back-end of the season. Sigurdsson was the biggest doubt, having not played for Everton since suffering a knee ligament injury in March. Alfred Finnbogason is also fit again up front, having marked his comeback from three months out with injury with a goal for Augsburg in late April too. The squad features just one Icelandic-based player – experienced defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson. Of those to miss out, the most experienced was midfielder Theodor Elmar Bjarnason, who will not be adding to his 40 caps this summer. He has spent the past season playing in the Turkish second tier for Elazigspor and is one of 12 players on the reverse list. Euro 2016 hero Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is also on the reserve list, despite two injury-ravaged years – his late substitute appearance against Angers for Nantes in May was his first appearance since August 2016.

Iceland Key Players

As top scorer in qualifying, and their talisman in attacking midfield, Gylfi Sigurdsson has proved himself a hugely important player for Iceland and will be a certain starter if he proves his fitness despite his first season at Everton proving less successful than he would have hoped. Johan Berg Gudmundsson will also provide a creative spark, having contributed more assists than any other Burnley player to fire them into next season’s Europa League. Captain Aron Gunnarsson led the team to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, and offers plenty of experience in midfield.

Iceland Team Form

DWLLL

Iceland’s only success since qualifying for the World Cup came in a friendly against Indonesia with a Scandinavian-based XI. The full senior team lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in Qatar, and then could only draw with the hosts six days later, while their March friendlies were played in the United States and saw them lose 3-0 to Mexico and 3-1 to Peru. A 3-2 home defeat to Norway – despite goals from Alfred Finnbogason and Gylfi Sigurdsson putting them 2-1 up – made it three friendly losses in a row.

Iceland Preliminary World Cup 2018 squad

Goalkeepers

1 – Hannes Halldorsson (Randers) – Age 34 – 48 caps/0 goals
12 – Frederik Schram (Roskilde) – Age 23 – 4 caps/0 goals
13 – Runar Alex Runarsson (Nordsjaelland) – Age 23 – 3 caps/0 goals

Defenders

2 – Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Valur) – Age 33 – 79 caps/1 goal
3 – Samuel Fridjonsson (Vålerenga) – Age 22 – 4 caps/0 goals
5 – Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Rostov) – Age 24 – 19 caps/3 goals
6 – Ragnar Sigurdsson (Rostov) – Age 31 – 76 caps/3 goals
14 – Kari Arnason (Vikingur) – Age 35 – 66 caps/4 goals
15 – Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia) – Age 27 – 9 caps/1 goal
18 – Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson (Bristol City) – Age 25 – 16 caps/2 goals
23 – Ari Freyr Skulason (Lokeren) – Age 31 – 55 caps/0 goals

Midfielders

4 – Albert Gudmundsson (PSV) – Age 20 – 5 caps/3 goals
7 – Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley) – Age 27 – 66 caps/7 goals
8 – Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa) – Age 30 – 66 caps/9 goals
10 – Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) – Age 28 – 56 caps/19 goals
16 – Olafur Ingi Skulason (Fylkir) – Age 35 – 35 caps/1 goal
17 – Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) – Age 29 – 77 caps/2 goals
19 – Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen) – Age 30 – 46 caps/3 goals
20 – Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese) – Age 33 – 63 caps/1 goal
21 – Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Malmö) – Age 25 – 18 caps/5 goals

Forwards

9 – Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (Rostov) – Age 27 – 11 caps/1 goal
11 – Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg) – Age 29 – 46 caps/12 goals
22 – Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading) – Age 26 – 37 caps/2 goals

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Iceland Predicted Starting Line-up

4-4-2
  • Goalkeeper

    • Halldorsson
  • Defenders

    • Saevarsson
    • Arnason
    • Sigurdsson
    • Magnusson
  • Midfielders

    • Gudmundsson
    • Gunnarsson
    • Hallfredsson
    • Bjarnason
  • Forwards

    • Sigurdsson
    • Finnbogason

Iceland World Cup 2018 group stage fixtures

VS

June 16th | 13:00 GMT

VS

June 22nd | 15:00 GMT

VS

June 26th | 18:00 GMT

Tournament odds: 250/1 (William Hill)

Betting Tips and Recommended bets with odds

Iceland should not be written off – they proved as much at Euro 2016 – but they have not been in good form as they gear up for their first ever World Cup.

The fixture list has been a little unkind too, with Iceland pitched against group favourites Argentina first up, and they could be playing catch-up from there.

Nigeria are in good form, and Croatia beat Iceland in World Cup qualifying, even if Iceland went on to win the reverse fixture and ultimately finish ahead of the Croatians. 

They are, therefore, 1/4 with Bet365 to fail to get out of the group, with Argentina and Croatia the favourites to advance. 

Iceland are 6/5 to finish bottom of Group D, but that would be a risky bet despite Nigeria’s good pre-tournament form – Iceland were the surprise success story of Euro 2016 and definitely should not be written off. While it will be tough to get out of the group, they could at least avoid a last-placed finish.

Recommended bet Iceland to be eliminated in the group stage at 1/4 with Bet365
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Prediction

Iceland’s only success since qualifying for the World Cup came in a friendly against Indonesia with a Scandinavian-based XI. The full senior team lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in Qatar, and then could only draw with the hosts six days later, while their March friendlies were played in the United States and saw them lose 3-0 to Mexico and 3-1 to Peru. A 3-2 home defeat to Norway – despite goals from Alfred Finnbogason and Gylfi Sigurdsson putting them 2-1 up – made it three friendly losses in a row.

Iceland at Russia 2018 prediction: Group stage

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World Cup 2018 Teams list and Group Predictions

Complete list of 32 teams participating in World Cup 2018 and their Group Predictions