Arsenal target and two Prem stars - how Iceland can beat Croatia

Iceland are just two games away from becoming the smallest nation to ever reach the World Cup finals, with a population of just over 320,000.

Having edged out Norway and Slovenia to clinch second place in Group E, Iceland now face Croatia over two legs as they look to make history.

Manager Lars Lagerback has worked a miracle in order to get Iceland in a position to be on the verge of World Cup qualification, and whist the Croats are clear favourites, with Mario Mandzukic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic likely to spearhead Croatia's bid for qualification, Iceland aren't short of talent themselves – here are three players they will look to rely on to get past Niko Kovac's men.

Aron Gunnarsson, Cardiff City

The 24-year-old is already captain of Iceland, and is now plying his trade in the Premier League having arrived at Cardiff from Coventry in 2011. An undoubted threat from long throw-ins, Gunnarsson could offer Iceland a valuable weapon, particularly with his ability to score from range too. He has yet to score for his country, but could there ever be a better time than in a crucial World Cup playoff?

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tottenham Hotspur

The star of the team, Sigurdsson may have only scored five goals for his country but having seen his quality for Tottenham, he is their main hope of unlocking the Croatia defence. Sigurdsson's three league goals in just seven Premier League appearances this season show how dangerous he can be, and Croatia will likely have to plan their game around him. Sigurdsson usually plays in a deeper role for Iceland than he does for his club, but will still look to support the strikers.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Ajax

One of those strikers is Sigthorsson – a rumoured target for both Arsenal and Tottenham, Sigthorsson is already the fifth top scorer in Iceland's history, despite being just 23. His 13 goals make him the second top scorer in the squad, behind former Chelsea star Eidur Gudjohnsen, and he will be heavily relied upon to supply the goals that will knock Croatia out and take Lars Lagerback's men to Brazil next summer.

Gudjohnsen is amongst a number of other familiar faces, with former Spurs midfielder Emil Hallfredsson, ex-Liverpool man Victor Palsson and Celtic target Alfred Finnbogason all likely to feature over the two legged tie. Iceland will need to be at their very best to stand any chance of overcoming Croatia, but big contributions from Gunnarsson, Sigurdsson and Sigthorsson will give them their best opportunity.

image: © Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi

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