Iceland vs Kosovo by Isaiah
Iceland did hell of a job on Friday evening when the side won away from home against Turkey 3:0 and thanks to a setback of Croatia that only had a 1:1 draw at home against Finland, they are now in the leading position and in case of a victory over rock bottom placed Kosovo, they will quality directly to the World Cup in Russia.
Turkish side had much more of the ball possession, but the visiting team was the one who looked way more dangerous and concrete with the ball to their feet, being mostly threatening via counter attacks. They had the double lead in the first halftime, thanks to Gudmundsson and Bjarnason in 32nd and 39th minute, being even more defensive oriented in the second, as they sealed the victory in 50th minute via Arnason, while the overall impression was that the Turkish, despite ball possession would never scored a single goal. Iceland now leads the table with two points over Croatia and Ukraine and has a chance to secure the sport at the World Cup for the first time in their history.
In comparison to previous call-ups, hosts miss defender Hallgrimur Jonasson (16/3, Lyngby), midfielder Theodor Elmar Bjarnason (36/0, Elazigspor) and forward Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (9/1, Molde), all three without playing for national team this Autumn anyway.
Kosovo suffered their eight consecutive defeat in the qualifiers after they won a point in away game against Finland at the start, this time losing 0:2 in Albania against Ukraine last Friday evening. Ukrainians appeared stronger from the first minute and deserved to lead at the halftime too, but the goals came in repetition.
In a bit more open second halftime, but again with Ukrainians being better, guests took the lead via an own goal in 60th minute and sealed their victory in 87th minute via Yarmolenko for completely deserved three pointer. They have shown some enthusiasm at the start of the qualifiers, but they'll obviously need much more improvement in order to be way more competitive side in the next qualifying windows.
In comparison to previous call-ups, guests won't be counting at midfielders Enis Alushi (10/0, Nurnberg), Arber Zeneli (6/0, Heerenveen), strikers Donis Avdijaj (2/0, Schalke) and Albert Bunjaku (6/3, Aue).
- Kosovo have not scored a goal in their last 3 matches.
Kosovo has probably some more talent than their record is saying this time (a point in nine matches and only three goals scored) but even so, this match should be all about the home side. They are now coming from two great victories, over Ukraine and Turkey and can't wait for this match in a better momentum.