Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sigurdsson ready for Croatia reunion as Iceland go for broke

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jun 2018

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Gylfi Sigurdsson insists previous results will count for nothing when Iceland face familiar foes Croatia in a crucial Group D clash on Tuesday.

The nations reached the tournament in Russia by qualifying from the same group, with Iceland topping the table to secure their place at a World Cup for the first time in their history.

They had missed out four years earlier after suffering a two-legged play-off defeat to Croatia, though their last meeting saw Hordur Magnusson grab a 90th-minute winner for Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side in June 2017.

Iceland need a similar result in Rostov-on-Don to progress to the knockout rounds alongside Croatia, with Sigurdsson admitting they have “nothing to lose” if they are to avoid an early exit.

Having opened their campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against Argentina, Iceland’s hopes of making the last 16 suffered a blow with a 2-0 loss to Nigeria last time out.

“I don’t think it will change anything that we’ve beaten them [Croatia] a year ago, or lost to them three years ago,” Sigurdsson told FIFA’s official website.

“It’s going to be a completely different match. But of course, it’s great that we’ve shown that we can beat them.

“They’re hard to break down and strong, both offensively and defensively. But we’ve got nothing to lose. It rests on us to get a good result, and then we’re hoping for a favourable result from the other match.”

While Sigurdsson hopes they can extend their involvement beyond the group stage, he believes just being at a World Cup will have a huge impact on future generations in his homeland.

“It would be a fantastic achievement to qualify from this group,” the Everton player added. “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.”

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