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Iceland's Russian legion 'coming home' for World Cup

AFP  |  Gelendzhik (Russia) 

For a trio of Russia-based players, means a return to familiar territory and welcome support from fans in their adopted "home" city of

Defenders and Sverrir Ingason, and striker Bjorn Sigurdarson, all play for Russian top-flight side FC Rostov, whose stadium hosts the third of Iceland's group D ties, against

"For us is a little bit like coming home," Sigurdsson told AFP before a training session Monday at the team's coast base near Gelendzhik.

Drawn in a tough group alongside Argentina, as well as the Croats, tiny Iceland, the smallest country ever to play at a World Cup, face a daunting challenge to match their Euro 2016 fairytale, where they reached the quarter-finals.

Sigurdsson, a 31-year-old defensive lynchpin who scored against England at the Euros, said their experience of will come in handy.

"It will be like us having home advantage for the game. We know the city and stadium well," he said.

"Since made it to people have been coming up to us in saying they will definitely support us," Ingason said.

Sigurdsson joined in January this year after previous spells in with Krasnodar and Rubin that sandwiched a season spent at side Fulham.

Ingason, 24, a defensive partner for Sigurdsson in Rostov, moved to from Spanish side Granada in 2017, while the striker Sigurdarson, 27, also joined Rostov in January this year.

"It definitely helps that we three are together, we know each other well," said Sigurdsson. "It's easier than being alone".

For Dmitri, a 52-year-old customs who travelled from the nearby port city of to catch a glimpse of Iceland's training session, the Nordic minnows are his second favourite team.

"They are a small nation who have a huge heart," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 22:35 IST