4 surprises that can happen in the 2018 World Cup (1)

Russia World Cup 2018 countdown—5 DAYS 

Every World Cup edition brings with it a whole package of drama, delight and despair. It arouses emotions that can hardly be triggered by any other tournament in the world. But what it also brings to the table, like many other tournaments, is the element of surprise.

And surprises always around the corner in the World Cup. It was Costa Rica in 2014 and the knockouts of Italy and France in the group-stages left many rattled in 2010.

**Can Iceland do it again?

Iceland’s impressive march to the quarter-finals of the Euro 2016 was worth the watch. Not just because of the Viking Claps that are certain to give everyone goosebumps, but because of their dogged approach to the game and determined manner of digging deep to grind out results. That style, mind you, works wonders in knockout games.

The manner in which Iceland qualified for the World Cup was impressive in its own way. They went past sides like Ukraine, Croatia and Turkey to achieve the feat and that, in itself, deserves applause for a country whose goalkeeper was a film director during the Euros.

Gylfi Sigurdsson might have endured a poor season with Everton following his big-money move from Swansea, but he will have to step up to the plate in the tournament. Johann Berg Gudmundsson enjoyed a very impressive season with Burnley will look to carry forward his form in Russia to make sure that Alfred Finnbogason carries on from where he left for Augsburg, for whom he found the back of the net 12 times in the Bundesliga last season.

Iceland conceded only seven times in ten qualifying games- an indication of the fact that they have retained their style and approach to the game. It was dogged and determined, never pretty. And it was very effective too. They managed to beat Croatia, a side that is in group this time around, along with Nigeria and Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

With key defenders in Ragnar Sigurdsson, Hordur Magnusson and Kari Arnason having enjoyed good seasons with their respective clubs, Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side will believe that they can reach the knockout rounds and look to surprise a few from there on.

And as always, never count these determined bunch of Icelanders out.

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