The playoff round matchup that appeared to be the most unbalanced tie of the four played in Europe ended up being the only that didn’t finish with a winner.
After a superb defensive effort with one players less on the pitch, Iceland was able to hold on to a scoreless draw against Croatia and now everything will be settled at the Maksimir Stadium where the team led by Luka Modric will look to clinch their place in the upcoming World Cup next year.
But if Iceland really wants to have a chance, they need Gylfi Sigurdsson to be at his best as he’s the only player capable to creating a difference between both sides.
Despite the fact that the Iceland National Team has grown a lot in recent years, they don’t have many players featured outside the Scandinavian borders. In fact, in the call-up for the European Playoff round, only 12 players appear to be in other leagues that aren’t in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden or Norway and out of those, only five play in bigger countries or have important roles in their squads.
That’s why Sigurdsson needs to lead this team to the promise land. The attacking midfielder is enjoying a good season at Tottenham Hotspur and with the support of Birkir Bjarnasson and Aron Gunnarsson behind him, he has enough space to make things happen on the attacking end of the pitch. If he and Ajax’s striker Kolbeinn Sigbórsson are able to connect often, Iceland could pull a gigantic upset against Croatia.
The hosts will be favorites as they’re expected to advance to the World Cup. But Iceland could turn a few heads with their play and pull the upset away from home as they have enough offensive weapons to do so.