Both Iceland and Eygpt did the inevitable with wins over Kosovo and Congo to qualify for the all-important FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Iceland beat Kosovo 2-0 and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah took Eygpt to an emphatic 2-1 win over Congo.
By securing qualification, Iceland became the smallest nation in the world to feature in the World Cup. Moreover, Eygpt acquired world cup berth in 28 years as Cairo crackled with firecrackers and celebrations continued from dawn to dusk.
Beating the offside trap, Salah gave Egypt the lead in the 63rd minute with an impressive finish at the Borg El Arab Stadium. Congo, with an equalizer in the latter part of the second half, brought the home fans to tears but Salah’s stoppage-time penalty saw Egypt through to a dramatic win.
“This is an incredible achievement.Egypt hasn’t gone to a World Cup since 1990 and it has been a source of national shame that the Pharaohs had not qualified despite being arguably being the best team in Africa over much of the past decade,” said author James Montague.
Meanwhile, a 39th-minute finish from Everton’s Gylfi Sigurðsson gave Iceland the lead at Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavik. Johann Gudmundsson’s 67th-minute finish helped the side to an emphatic 2-0 win.
With a population of just over 300,000, Iceland became the smallest nation to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
“I thought after Euro 2016 that the hardest thing would be to motivate ourselves again. The first beer after a party is not the best. The hardest thing was to get going again after our massive party in France. And what’s more, 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,” said Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrimsson.
Moreover, the Republic of Ireland and Serbia also fought their way through to the World Cup with wins over Wales and Georgia.
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