(Reuters) – Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has been named in the Iceland squad for next month’s World Cup in Russia despite the midfielder missing the end of the league season with a knee injury.
Sigurdsson, Everton’s record signing after his move from Swansea City last year, has not played since picking up the injury against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on March 10.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who enjoyed an impressive campaign with Burnley, and Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson have also been included in the 23-man squad for the country’s first World Cup appearance by Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.
Iceland, with a population of 340,000 and a pool of only around 100 professional footballers, are the smallest country to have qualified for a World Cup.
They made their debut at a major tournament at Euro 2016 where they beat Austria and England and finally lost to hosts France in the quarter-finals of an extraordinary campaign.
Iceland will kick off their campaign against 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina in Moscow on June 16. Croatia and Nigeria are the other two teams featuring in Group D.
Goalkeepers: Hannes Thor Halldorsson (Randers FC), Runar Alex Runarsson (FC Nordsjaelland), Frederik Schram (FC Roskilde).
Defenders: Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Ari Freyr Skulason (Lokeren), Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (FC Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia), Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC Rostov).
Midfielders: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Malmo FF), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Ingi Skulason (Kardemir Karabukspor), Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).
Forwards: Alfred Finnbogason (FC Augsburg), Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (FC Rostov), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven).
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir)