Iceland celebrate 2018 World Cup qualification with fans
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Iceland’s players continued their celebrations deep into the night after sealing a historic place at next year’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Kosovo.
Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored the opening goal in Reykjavik, joined his team-mates on stage in the city centre to enjoy the moment with thousands of fans.
Johann Gudmundsson sealed the win with a second-half strike, ensuring Iceland will become the smallest country by population to compete at a World Cup when they travel to Russia next summer.
Iceland’s players and coaching staff took to a stage in Reykjavik city centre to celebrate reaching the 2018 World Cup
Iceland’s stars jump up and down on stage after beating Kosovo 2-0 to seal their first ever appearance at a World Cup
Thousands of fans descended on Ingolfstorg square in Reykjavik on Monday night to enjoy Iceland’s historic achievement
Confetti is fired into the air as Iceland supporters, players and staff celebrate securing a place in Russia next year
Heimir Hallgrimsson’s squad also performed their famous thunderclap just hours after seeing off Kosovo in their final qualifier
Iceland’s celebrations were also shown on a huge screen as supporters enjoyed a special moment with their heroes
With just 330,000 people living on the island, Iceland surpass Trinidad and Tobago (1.3million population) as the smallest nation to reach international football’s most prestigious tournament.
After the game, a good number of the country’s football fans descended on Ingolfstorg Square to pay tribute to their heroes, who will be looking to build on last year’s impressive showing at the European Championship.
They watched on as Iceland’s players and staff celebrated reaching their first ever World Cup by singing and dancing on stage despite the bitterly cold weather in the country’s capital.
Led by captain Aaron Gunnarsson, Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men also joined their loyal supporters in a thunderclap – the celebration they made famous en route to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
Sigurdsson took to Instagram to share a dressing-room snap of him and his team-mates, captioning the photo ‘Road to Russia’ with a tick symbol alongside it.
Gunnarsson’s model wife Kris also posted on the social media site, uploading a photo of her wearing Iceland’s away shirt and holding a scarf along with the caption ‘We are going to Russia’.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (left, bottom right) took to Instagram to share a dressing room snap, while captain Aaron Gunnarsson’s wife captioned her photo ‘We are going to Russia’
Everton midfielder Sigurdsson celebrates after his goal put Iceland into the lead against Kosovo on Monday night
The £45million playmaker put Iceland in front on 40 minutes to help them on their way to World Cup qualification
Iceland captain Gunnarsson leads the celebrations after the final whistle on a memorable night in Reykjavik
After making a big impression at Euro 2016, the Icelandic fans will look to do the same in Russia next year
Speaking after sealing a place in Russia, boss Hallgrimsson told FIFA.com: ‘After the Euro (European Championship), as everyone knows, Iceland had a big, big party.
‘And you know how it is the day after a party – it’s not always easy to get up and start work again. We knew we faced a big challenge in that respect.
‘The hardest thing was to get going again after France. The first beer after a party is not the best.
‘And what’s more we were in a group contested between Croatia, Turkey, Ukraine and Finland, who are much better than their position in the group would have you believe. The success is not an end in itself but a long journey towards a final destination.’