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Arnason: Scotland can learn from Iceland's rise to glory

The Aberdeen defender will head to Russia next summer to play in the World Cup.

Aberdeen's Kari Arnason believes small nations like Scotland can learn from Iceland's incredible rise to success.

His country became the smallest to qualify for the World Cup when they sealed top spot in Group I on Monday.

Iceland have been on the rise since 2010 when they were 112th in the FIFA rankings.

They have since qualified for their first two major tournaments.

Iceland captured the hearts of football fans around the world when they reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and Arnason says Scotland are more than capable of doing the same.

"Definitely," he said, when asked if Scotland can take lessons from his nation. "We have a plan and don't move away from it regardless of what happens.

"We soak up pressure for 90 minutes and manage to score from a set piece or counter attack. Most small nations can learn from that.

"Not putting ourselves on a high horse but we do the things we do well and we know what we're good at. We try to bring the game to our level and play on our terms. That's what we're successful at."

"We've been there, we've been through that spell and been a lot lower than Scotland."
Kari Arnason

He added: "We can mix it up and play a physical game, we've got height and strength to do that, but we can also play a slower game, pass the ball around and soak up pressure."

Arnason says a lot of the credit for Iceland's turnaround is due to their Swedish manager Lars Lagerback.

While the defender did not want to be drawn into the future of Gordon Strachan, he said there is a lot to learn from a foreign manager coming in.

"It all started when Lars Lagerback came in, we have built on that," he said.

"We work for each other and we're all friends outside of football. We stay in touch in between games. We do it for each other.

"We've been there, we've been through that spell and been a lot lower than Scotland has where we couldn't beat any team."

Arnason added: "You need someone from abroad sometimes to see things from a different perspective and get the team going in the right direction.

"That's what happened to us. We had loads of Icelandic managers and it was a lot of the same, results never got better. But once we got Lars in he structured the team in a way we'd never seen before.

"He had emphasis and if we didn't follow what he said you were dropped, it was as simple as that. I'm not saying you need someone foreign but you need to find your strengths and play to them."

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