Our football match prediction:
Kosovo kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw with Finland, but they have been struggling in Group I ever since. Following back-to-back defeats to the likes of Croatia and Ukraine, Albert Bunjaki’s men suffered a 2-0 loss to Turkey in their last qualifying match and, no doubt, they are low on confidence ahead of the visit of Iceland. The hosts are desperate to grab something from Friday’s football game, but seeing that their form is anything but fine, home win should not be considered. After booking their place at Euro 2016 Iceland are eager to participate at the FIFA World Cup finals as well, but they are on a very difficult quest. The Strakarnir okkar aim to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Croatia and we predict that they are going to defeat Kosovo in Skhoder. As always, a man to watch in the away team will be Premier League star Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is enjoying yet another successful season.
Highlighted Player (Birkir Bjarnason):
The 28-year-old Icelandic central midfielder Birkir Bjarnason bearing a striking nickname Thor in his homeland is a footballing nomad, having played for no less than seven clubs in less than ten years of his professional careers. After spells in Belgium and Italy, the Iceland midfielder moved to FC Basel in 2015 to amass 29 Swiss Super League appearances and add 10 goals in his club’s title-winning campaign. Following a successful season at club level, the versatile midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, who is equally apt to perform as a striker, made striking appearance during the Euro 2016 in France. His commanding appearances made him a key player for the minnows Iceland as they knocked England out to reach the quarter finals of the tournament. Despite heavy summer interest from several English sides, Bjarnason remained with the Swiss champions and is expected to play a key role in their Champions League campaign.
Highlighted Team (Iceland):
Iceland had little to no success during the first 60 years of entering the FIFA competitions, failing to qualify to a single major tournament in that period, but the team then went on to make tremendous progress at the start of the 21st century. The Nordic side narrowly missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup, losing in the play-off to Croatia, but they then enjoyed a thoroughly impressive qualifying campaign to reach the Euro 2016 finals, taking 20 points from 10 matches to leave Turkey and Netherlands trailing in their wake. As a result, the generation featuring players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Emil Hallfredsson will go down as one of the most successful in the national team history and it could be quite some time before another team repeat their success. Even if he was only used as a bit-part player during the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Eidur Gudjohnsen has got to be mentioned as the first Icelandic footballer to have played for top European sides.