Iceland's first experience of a World Cup comes against an all-time great perhaps facing his last chance to win one as they take on Argentina and Lionel Messi in their Group D opener.
Many believe Barcelona superstar Messi needs to win the World Cup to rubber stamp his status as the best player in the history of the game.
He came agonisingly close in the 2014 World Cup, where he won player of the tournament but was unable to prevent Argentina from losing 1-0 to Germany in extra time in the final.
With goalkeeper Sergio Romero and forward Manuel Lanzini missing the competition through injury, the strain on the 30-year-old Messi's shoulders has arguably increased even further.
Messi is not the only worldwide sensation set to be on show in Saturday's clash at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Iceland having captured the hearts and minds of football fans around the globe during their improbable run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
Iceland's remarkable major tournament debut popularised the 'Viking clap' and coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, now in sole charge having overseen their European Championship run alongside Lars Largerback, is confident they can repeat those heroics on the world stage.
Slovakia were the last debutants to qualify and reach the knockout stages in 2010, and Hallgrimsson sees a path to Iceland doing the same despite being drawn in a group that also contains a talented Croatia side and Nigeria.
"If people still think it's a kind of Cinderella story, and that in some way we don’t deserve it, then they underestimate us," Hallgrimsson told The Guardian.
"The group is equal and I think that's in our favour. If or when – I don't know which word to use – we get through there's not going to be any opponent much tougher than Argentina, Nigeria or Croatia.
"It gives you the feeling that, if we qualify for the last 16, we shouldn't fear anyone."
- Only Bolivia (18) scored fewer goals than Argentina (19) in the CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
- Iceland have qualified for their first World Cup and their second major tournament after Euro 2016 where they reached the quarter-finals. Slovakia were the last World Cup debutants to make it to the knockout stages of the tournament (2010).
- At 334,000 inhabitants when they qualified, Iceland are the smallest ever nation to reach the World Cup finals.
|Southgate responds to toughest England week in record-breaking style|
|Uruguay not thinking about Portugal or Spain, insists Cavani|
|Coric stuns Federer to claim title in Halle|
|England 6 Panama 1: Kane hat-trick sees Southgate´s side sail through|
|Australia v Peru: Juric keeping the faith as Socceroos chase unlikely last-16 spot|
|England surpass class of 1966 in Panama rout|
|Nigeria v Argentina: All eyes on Messi to rescue final World Cup chance|
|NSW seal Origin series with comeback win|
|World Cup 2018: Stalin´s bunker, a space museum and Serbian specials in Samara|
|Croatia looking out for number one - Lovren|
|Heritage at back of Australian minds ahead of potential Croatia encounter|
|It may be my last World Cup - ´Realistic´ Pogba determined to reign in Russia|
|Lionel Messi´s birthday: What might the Barcelona star wish for?|
|Russia readying Dzagoev for last-16 clash|
|Germany apologised for reaction aimed at Sweden bench|
|Picture this! Sterling starts for England against Panama|
|World Cup 2018: A Russian romp, Maradona and the party in Moscow|
|Happy birthday, Lionel Messi! 10 of the Argentina star´s best goals|
|Modric worthy of Ballon d´Or, says Lovren|
|Sigurdsson ready for Croatia reunion as Iceland go for broke|
|Iceland v Croatia: Dalic to rest stars for Hallgrimsson divorce hearing|
|Men´s tennis will have to ´wake up´ after Federer and Nadal, says King|
|Tennis star Djokovic backs VAR despite Serbia controversy|
|Socceroos have deserved more at World Cup – Skoko|
|Dodgers top Mets in Kershaw´s return from DL|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls end Dallas´ unbeaten run, Sporting stage comeback|
|Hierro: This Spain team similar to 2010 World Cup champions|
|Dowrich, Holder lead Windies fightback after poor start|
|With Neymar back, Brazil are World Cup favourites – Lugano|
|Alba: I don´t understand the criticism of Messi|
|He has sacrificed a lot – Stuani praises Suarez|
|Manning says Brees deserves to break his record for career passing yards|
|Hornets want Walker to play entire career with Charlotte|
|Avalanche sign Grubauer to three-year extension|
|Argentina struggles down to team, not just Messi – Hierro|
|Casey leads Travelers by four after firing 62|
|Scotland run riot in Argentina as Hourcade tenure ends in defeat|
|Germany´s Rudy in doubt for South Korea clash|
|England produce storming fightback to beat New Zealand|
|Shaqiri, Xhaka facing disciplinary action over goal celebration|
|Kvitova takes WTA lead for wins by easing into Birmingham final|
|Jones: England back on road to being world´s best|
|Germany survive in Sochi but questions remain|
|Germany 2 Sweden 1: Late Kroos winner brings Low´s men back from the brink|
|Perisic dreaming of matching Croatia´s France 98 heroes|
|Veron questions Sampaoli for leaving Icardi out|
|Southgate won´t blame injured Alli for playing through pain barrier|
|Travelers Championship: Course invader drives Rory McIlroy and crowd nuts|
|Saul tells Atletico to renew Oblak deal after Griezmann´s new contract|
|Course invader sends McIlroy & crowd nuts at Travelers Championship|
|Saudi Arabia v Egypt: El Hadary eyes history in dead rubber|
|Referee declines Cheika invite after Australia´s series loss to Ireland|
|Griezmann, Mbappe can eclipse Henry, claims Trezeguet|
|Nawalka hopeful of Glik return against Colombia|
|Mexico outsmart South Korea to join Croatia as unheralded World Cup threats|
|´No drama´ for Southgate after England team sheet leak|
|Hend caught by five in Pulheim as Bjerregaard goes low|
|´Little Pea´ Hernandez hits big Mexico milestone in World Cup win|
|Modric and Rakitic the best midfield in Russia - Corluka|
|Cipriani and Farrell ease pressure on Jones as England avoid SA whitewash|
|South Korea 1 Mexico 2: Hernandez nets landmark goal as last 16 beckons|
|Ozil and Khedira axed by Germany|
|Djokovic plans to use two rackets against Cilic after reaching Queen´s final|
|World Cup of penalties? Russia surpasses Brazil after VAR introduction|
|Neymar ´fully recovered´ but Brazil coach Tite has thigh injury|
|Hansen claims France ´clutching at straws´ after another referee controversy|
|Douglas Costa, Danilo out of Brazil´s Serbia clash|
|Hamilton claims 75th pole as Mercedes dominate in France|
|´Mentally strong´ Salah will overcome World Cup disappointment, says Mane|
|Pekerman contemplating unleashing James and Quintero together|