Iceland and Croatia are squaring off in a World Cup qualifying playoff. They’ll play two games, each nation hosting and the winner by aggregate score will advance to the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. Iceland is on the brink of clinching a trip to a major tournament for the first time in its history.
“We have been underdogs the whole time,” Iceland coach Lars Largerback said, via ESPN FC. “Many asked me when I took the job: ‘Why take Iceland? What chance do you have?’ If we succeed now, when nobody has given us a chance – you heard the play-off draw, everyone wanted us – if we do it, it would mean a little more than qualifying with Sweden. From being a small country and not believing it in the beginning, it’s bigger in that way.”
He also thinks he knows the reason for Iceland’s success.
“Six or seven years ago they built seven full-size indoor pitches. That means that they can train and play football year-round,” he said. “Then there’s been a generation of young players who went to the 2011 European Under-21 finals in Denmark. They’re the framework of the team now. A lot of them have gone to good clubs and they’re all playing.”
Date: November 15
Start Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
TV Info: Not televised
Live Stream: ESPN 3, or Watch ESPN App
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