Iceland ready for ‘biggest game’, says coach

Moscow: Iceland are fit and ready for “the biggest game in Icelandic football” when they take on two-time champions Argentina at the World Cup in Moscow on Saturday, coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said on Friday.
World Cup newcomers Iceland are hoping to at least emulate their Euro 2016 exploits when they reached the quarterfinals in France.
Iceland are better prepared than they were at Euro 2016, have more experience and have shown their quality in finishing top of a qualifying group ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey, Hallgrimsson said.
“Our goal is to progress from the group,” he told reporters on the eve of the game at the Spartak Moscow stadium. “If we do that we have left behind two really good teams and then we shouldn’t fear anyone after that.”
Iceland’s exploits in reaching the quarterfinals at Euro 2016, beating England in the last 16, have often been described as a miracle but Hallgrimsson does not see it that way.
“It was not a miracle that we came so far,” he said. “The team has been very stable for the last four years, we are 20th (22nd) in the Fifa rankings and we won our group in World Cup qualifying.” Hallgrimsson also had a theory on why many neutrals around the world would be rooting for the smallest nation by population ever to appear at a World Cup.— dpa