In the latest Iceland news, Gylfi Sigurdsson believes Iceland can inspire the younger generations even if they fail to make it out of their group at the World Cup.
The Strakarnir okkar, who are 11/2 to qualify from Group D with Sky Bet, announced themselves on the international stage in 2016 when they dumped England out of the European Championships to reach the quarter-finals.
Hosts France ultimately proved too strong as they ran out 5-2 winners but Iceland continued to build momentum from that tournament and booked their place at the World Cup this summer.
Despite being the smallest nation to feature at a World Cup finals, they more than held their own against a vastly experienced Argentina in their opening match.
A 1-1 draw against the South Americans provided hope of potentially finding a way out of the group, although their chances were reduced when they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nigeria last time out.
However, Argentina’s loss to Croatia in their second group outing means that Group D is wide open going into the final round of fixtures and Iceland still have a slim chance of making history.
Sigurdsson acknowledges it would be an incredible achievement to win against the Vatreni on Tuesday and book their last-16 place but feels that just being involved in the showpiece event will help to inspire the younger generations.
“It would be a fantastic achievement to qualify from this group,” Sigurdsson said.
“But simply being at the World Cup helps younger generations in Iceland.
“For them, being able to watch their own national team play at this tournament is amazing, and something I can’t really imagine because it was not like that when I was young. This experience can only be positive.”
Iceland and Croatia met in World Cup qualifying with both nations winning to nil on home soil, but the Everton playmaker isn’t reading too much into that.
He added: “I don’t think it will change anything that we’ve beaten them [Croatia] a year ago, or lost to them three years ago.
“It’s going to be a completely different match. But of course, it’s great that we’ve shown that we can beat them.”