Gylfi's delight as Iceland reach play-offs
16 October 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Elated Gylfi Sigurdsson believes Iceland have what it takes to go on and claim a place at the World Cup finals for the first time ever.
Our attacking midfielder is overjoyed after he and his team-mates secured second place in Group E – and a play-off place – on Tuesday night with a 1-1 draw in Norway.
Gylfi’s side began the night in second spot, and as group winners Switzerland beat Iceland’s rivals Slovenia 1-0, Lars Lagerback’s men did enough to hold onto that all-important runners-up berth.
Iceland now have a dream chance to earn a spot at next summer’s tournament finals in Brazil as they take their place in November’s play-offs.
Gylfi is delighted at his nation’s progress – and knows a place on the plane bound for Brazil next summer is within reach.
“Amazing, it’s an unbelievable feeling, fantastic,” he beamed. “It was always our target to finish second in the group.
“We’ve a young squad, but also with more experienced players, a good mix and it was our target to get second spot and get into the play-offs, so it’s target achieved. It’s a great feeling.”
Iceland took the lead when Gylfi played in Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to score in the 12th minute, but Norway got back on level terms on the half-hour. A nervy ending was made slightly more bearable when news filtered through that Switzerland were leading against Slovenia, who were the only side capable of jumping into second.
But Gylfi says the way Iceland performed in getting the point required showed they can handle the pressure of the play-offs.
“There were a few nerves, especially at the end. We knew Switzerland were winning 1-0, so we didn’t take any chances, we sat back and made sure we didn’t lose the game. We knew about that from the bench, but there were about 2,000 fans there as well, and they certainly let us know!
“We didn’t start well, Norway were the better side but we scored the goal and that changed it a little. In the second half, we sat back and made sure we didn’t concede again.
“There are some big teams in the play-offs but this result shows we can handle the pressure of going away and needing to get a result. We’ve got players who can attack and score goals so hopefully that combination will be enough to get us through to the finals.
“The draw is Monday and I can’t wait for that.”