Advancing to last 16 in 1st World Cup would be huge success: Iceland coach

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Moscow, June 25 (IANS) Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson on Monday said it would be a huge success to advance to the knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in his country’s first-ever World Cup appearance.

Iceland is set to face Group D leader Croatia on Tuesday, and currently holds third place in the group with one point after pulling off a surprise 1-1 tie against Argentina in their debut match on June 16, reports Efe.

“For nations like Argentina, Portugal or Germany it would not be a disgrace, but it would be a shock not to qualify for the knockout stage. But if we were one of the 16 best, if we secure a last-16 berth, we’d probably say this was the greatest success in the short history of Icelandic football,” Hallgrimsson said at a press conference.

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“I want to put in context what it means for some and what it means for others,” he added.

Hallgrimsson praised the Croatian squad, particularly their passing game, saying “They deserve to go far if they continue playing as they have been.”

Iceland’s coach assured reporters that all his players are in optimal condition and had trained Monday for the challenge of defeating Croatia, as a win is necessary for Iceland to advance to the last 16.

After tying Argentina and losing to Nigeria 2-0, Iceland is five points behind Croatia and two points behind second-placed Nigeria.

–IANS

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