Iceland qualifies for World Cup

Iceland became the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup when they beat Kosovo 2-0 on Monday to book a place at their first finals in Russia next year as winners of Group I.

Gylfi Sigurdsson settled their nerves with a superbly-taken goal five minutes before halftime as Iceland proved that their run to the 2016 European Championship quarter-finals, which included wins over Austria and England, was no fluke.

Sigurdsson also set up the second for Johann Gudmundsson midway through the second half as Iceland completed the campaign by winning their final three games without conceding a goal.

It was a remarkable achievement for a country which has a population of about 350,000. The previous smallest country to have reached the finals was Trinidad & Tobago, in 2006, with 1.3 million people.

PCB has decided to extend Arthur’s contract till World Cup 2019

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to extend men’s cricket team coach Mickey Arthur’s contract till World Cup 2019.

PCB is reportedly satisfied with Arthur’s performance, saying a young side under him recently won the Champions Trophy for the first time ever for Pakistan. He had initially been contacted in May 2016 to serve for up to two years.

Sources said Arthur wants the contracts of the rest of coaching staff to be extended as well so that the team can prepare for the World Cup under the same combination.

Batting coach Grant Flower has been with the side since 2014 while bowling coach Azhar Mahmood and fielding coach Steve Rixon were appointed soon after Arthur’s appointment.

According to the PCB official, Arthur can prove Pakistan’s best coaching option for the World Cup following the Champions Trophy victory.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to be held in England and Wales from May to July 2019.