We need a 'miracle', says Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson, ahead of World Cup double-header!

Johann Berg Gudmundsson says it will take a miracle for Iceland to progress to the finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 6:30 am
Lucas Digne of Everton is put under pressure by Johann Gudmundsson of Burnley during the Premier League match between Everton and Burnley at Goodison Park on September 13, 2021 in Liverpool, England.

The 30-year-old has been mightily unimpressed with his nation's underwhelming qualifying campaign so far.

The 2016 European Championship quarter-finalists added their second major tournament appearance two years later when making it to Russia.

Arnar Viðarsson's side failed to make it three competitions on the spin after missing out on this summer's continental contest.

Johann Gudmundsson of Iceland in action with Luka Modric of Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Iceland and Croatia at Rostov Arena on June 26, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

And they're currently faltering in their bid to board the plane to Qatar next winter having slipped well off the pace in Group J.

Languishing in fifth position, after collecting four points from six games, the Burnley winger said: "It's not been good enough.

"There's been a lot of stuff going around, a lot of players missing, so it's going to be extremely tough for us to qualify for the World Cup.

"We were at the last World Cup so it's something that we wanted to achieve again.

"We've had too many players missing and Iceland doesn't have the luxury of having a lot of players.

"We have a lot of young players coming through as well so it's going to take some time to build a new team, but it's not been going too well this time around."

Strákarnir okkar [Our Boys] face a couple of 'make or break' fixtures in the coming days, starting on Friday.

They take on second place Armenia in Reykjavík where anything other than victory would all-but shatter their dreams.

Iceland will then host bottom side Liechtenstein at Laugardalsvöllur on Monday in their attempts to plug the chasm.

With the gap to the top two currently standing at seven points with four games remaining, Gudmundsson, who has withdrawn from the squad, said: "It was wide open for second place.

"We just haven't performed well enough and, as you can see in the group, we've not got enough points. We just haven't been good enough, it's as simple as that.

"No, we probably won't [qualify]. We're too far away now. We've not picked up enough points and it'll take a miracle for us to get second place, but you never know.

"We definitely need to win our last four games so it's going to be tough.

"We need to get the young players used to international football because it's a different level. They are getting used to it and hopefully we can rebuild as soon as possible and produce a team that can go on to perform at major tournaments."

Iceland will culminate their campaign in Romania and North Macedonia next month having faced leaders Germany twice already.

*Iceland's statement on Twitter, referencing Gudmundsson's withdrawal from the squad, read: "Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson and Jón Guðni Fjóluson will not be with the men's A national team in the upcoming games due to injuries - home games against Armenia and Liechtenstein in the World Cup qualifiers."