Gylfi hails Iceland firepower
15 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
“We always score goals,” insisted Gylfi Sigurdsson as he considered his nation’s chances ahead of the biggest two games in Icelandic football history.
With a two-legged qualification play-off against Croatia standing between Iceland and their first ever tournament finals, our energetic midfielder knows he’s tantalisingly close to helping his national side reach the promised land of the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
Iceland finished as runners-up to Switzerland in Group E at the previous stage of qualifying and looked good value for it, scoring 17 goals from their 10 games in the group stage, including four in a spectacular 4-4 draw against the Swiss and two in a momentous win over near neighbours Norway.
Their impressive firepower also saw them score twice in victories away to Albania and Slovenia and in home wins against Albania and Cyprus – with Gylfi confident there’s more to come.
“The first game is obviously at home for us and I think that’s a good thing,” said the 24-year-old as he anticipates this evening’s play-off first leg against Croatia – a match swiftly followed by the return clash on Tuesday.
“If we can get a good result at home and hopefully keep a clean sheet, then we can go to Croatia and if we can get a couple of goals out there – we always score goals – then hopefully that will be it.
“It’s going to be very difficult because Croatia have got some fantastic players so they’re going to be a tough two games, but we’ve shown through the group stage that we’ve got a good team as well and hopefully if we can get a good result in the first game then we can do something out there.”
Gylfi has prior knowledge of certain members of Croatia’s side – he had a brief spell with Luka Modric here in 2012, while also playing alongside Josip Simunic at Hoffenheim in 2010-11.
Our attacking midfielder is wary of the attacking prowess of Iceland’s opponents – but he remains cautiously optimistic ahead of his nation’s date with destiny, with the knowledge that a place on the plane to Brazil next summer is within touching distance.
“Luka was obviously here for the first couple of months when I joined and I played with Josip Simunic at Hoffenheim in Germany so I know him. Obviously they’ve got Mario Mandzukic who plays up front for Bayern Munich so they’ve got lots of good players – hopefully it will be a good couple of games.
“It would be unbelievable – ridiculous – for a country of 350,000 people to go to the World Cup, but it would be something that we’ve been dreaming of since we were little boys and hopefully we can do it.”