Iceland’s march towards trying to secure second place in their World Cup qualifying group has helped them rise 16 places to 54 in the latest FIFA World Ranking.
Iceland, whose form of late has given them genuine hope of securing a play-off spot to qualify for the Brazil World Cup next year, is reaping the rewards of what many consider its most talented group of players ever. Sitting in 54th position, they are now sandwiched in between Australia in 53rd and Armenia in 55th.
Iceland, who boast players including Sampdoria’s Birkir Bjarnason, Tottenham Hotspur’s Gylfi Sigurðsson and Ajax’s Kolbeinn Sigþórsson as well as the veteran Eiður Guðjonhson of Club Brugge, have traditionally been bottom of the pile of the Scandinavian countries in the FIFA World Ranking.
However, the North Atlantic minnows have now risen above Finland, who sit in 56th place and have Norway, in 39th, in their sights. Sweden remain the top-ranked Scandinavian country in 22nd place, with Denmark one place behind them in 23rd.
The latest rankings come on the back of Iceland’s 2-1 home victory against Albania last Tuesday and further highlight the dramatic improvement Lars Lagerback’s team have made in the past year or so. With a real chance of securing a play-off berth, the island nation’s dream of making a first major international competition lives on.