Iceland, Wales on verge of World Cup history

Iceland leads the standings in Group D after a 3-0 away victory over Turkey in the UEFA qualifiers.   -  AP

Iceland is on the verge of creating history when a victory over the less-fancied Kosovo, on Monday, could hand the island nation its first ever qualification to the World Cup finals.

The Heimir Hallgrimsson managed side shocked all comers when it defeated England in the round-of-16 stage of the EURO championship to reach the quarterfinals in France last year.

It is currently on top of Group I after a 3-0 away victory over Turkey in the UEFA qualifiers on Friday.

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It has a 100% home record thus far with victories over Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. A win over 184th ranked Kosovo would ensure Iceland a direct qualification for next summer's World Cup in Russia and will become the nation with the smallest population to play in the finals.

Ukraine will take on the second placed Croatia in Kyiv, needing a win to make it to the play-offs, while a draw will be enough for the Luka Modric led Croatia to go through.

'Golden' opportunity for Wales

In group D, Wales could reach its first World Cup finals in 60 years if it wins its match against Republic of Ireland and Serbia fails to beat Georgia.

Wales is making the most of its 'Golden Era' where it has produced players of star quality in Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies among many others.

Its manager Chris Coleman believes that the side has earned the tag of golden generation. "I fought against it when they were labelled the 'golden bunch' before we qualified for the EUROs but now they've earned it. This is a golden era," he told the Daily Telegraph.

Coleman, who was in charge of the side which reached the semifinals of EURO 2016, felt this was the biggest game in the history of Welsh football. However, his side will head into the match without an injured Bale.

"[This game] is as big as anything we've been involved in.

"Dare to dream? I meant every word of that. I say that because I've seen the other side. That's why I don't have any fear. We look forward to these games because I've been in positions where I didn't know if I'd still be in a job if I'd lost that next game. To be sat here now is an absolute joy.

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"If you could bottle the feeling for football the nation had three years ago and compare it to now, it is night and day. It's an event now in Wales when the team plays. The excitement is incredible.

"Two years ago, a game like this would have been brand new. I don't want to sound flippant but we've been sat here before with these big games and we've got that experience."

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