Iceland continue their bid to become the smallest nation in FIFA World Cup history when they welcome Croatia to Reykjavik on Friday.
Lars Lagerback, whose career has seen him manage at three World Cups already, will now be looking to give himself every chance of reaching a fourth with a play-off first-leg victory, having led the European minnows to second place in UEFA Group E.
Croatia, meanwhile, got off to a flying start in Group A - winning five of their opening six fixtures - but tailed off dramatically in their final four matches and are without a competitive victory since a 2-1 win over Wales in March.
That poor form led to the dismissal of head coach Igor Stimac, so former Croatia captain Niko Kovac will begin his interim tenure in charge of the national side in huge circumstances.
Both sides finished their group campaigns on 17 points - a distant second behind Switzerland and Belgium respectively - and, aside from Denmark, who missed out on the play-offs, and France, who featured in a smaller group, Iceland and Croatia were the lowest point-scoring runners-up of the group stage.
While Iceland are aiming to qualify for their first tournament, Croatia have missed out just once since their first entry in 1998.
The history books will make unhappy reading for Iceland fans, with Croatia having won the two previous competitive encounters between the sides - scoring seven goals and conceding just one in reply.
Despite his side's lack of major tournament experience, Lagerback is hopeful Iceland - whose high-profile players include Tottenham's Gylfi Sigurdsson and former Chelsea and Barcelona man Eidur Gudjohnsen - can upset the odds and make history.
"Of course it would be a huge disappointment if we didn't get to Brazil now that we are so close but, as far as I am concerned, we are in a win-win situation," he said.
"There weren't many outside Iceland and, to be fair, on Iceland who expected us to get this far, even though the expectations have grown the further we have got in qualifying.
"But I hope people are not thinking that (it would be a huge disappointment to miss out). I am certainly not thinking that way."
Iceland will look to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to boost their chances of victory, the Ajax man has netted in each of his last five international games.
Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic is unavailable due to injury but the likes of Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Niko Kranjcar will be available to Kovac.
|Coach: L. Lagerbäck|
for K. Sigþórsson 46'
for A. Finnbogason 63'
|Wenger criticism baffles Redknapp|
|Leicester must strengthen in window - Walsh|
|United not title contenders - Docherty|
|Koeman: Southampton youngsters will get a chance|
|Dyche empathises with Liverpool striker crisis|
|Cagliari turn to Zola|
|Rooney thanks Van Gaal for Christmas break|
|Cruzeiro offer Paulinho Tottenham exit chance|
|Carlisle´s wife grateful to Burnley|
|Katebe called up to Zambia AFCON squad|
|Cape Verde name AFCON squad|
|Finke names much-changed Cameroon squad|
|Grant omits World Cup troublemakers for AFCON|
|Blackpool striker Ranger goes AWOL|
|Allardyce relishing Mourinho meeting|
|Ashley fails to increase Rangers stake|
|Crystal Palace v Southampton: Koeman calls for focus|
|Warnock targeting striker in January|
|Chelsea v West Ham: Adrian vows visitors will attack|
|Heskey signs short-term deal at Bolton|
|Everton v Stoke City: Martinez eyes strong form|
|Juninho defends David Luiz|
|Burnley v Liverpool: Dyche defends Rodgers ahead of Turf Moor test|
|Arsenal v QPR: Wenger eyes festive momentum|
|Liverpool are growing in confidence, says Rodgers|
|Redknapp: Austin future could depend on survival|
|Martinez wants Everton consistency|
|Barca want Neymar until 2020, says agent|
|Jones undeterred by pressure of Liverpool starting role|
|Allardyce ´knows how to beat managers´ - Carroll|
|Jones playing for a new contract|
|China select Evergrande spine for Asian Cup|
|A-League Preview: Koren tips City to build|
|Khedira keen to fight for Real spot|
|Southampton confirm Elia deal|
|Cellino to remain as Leeds owner until after appeal|
|Manchester United v Newcastle United: Van Gaal demands domination|
|Van Gaal refuses to dismiss Bale speculation|
|Sunderland v Hull City: Bruce sure of Hull revival|
|Swansea City v Aston Villa: Lambert optimistic of away success|
|Agbonlahor red rescinded|
|Falcao depends on team-mates to perform - Van Gaal|
|Monk dismisses talk of Gomis move|
|West Brom v Manchester City: Pellegrini to experiment again|
|Xavi: I was ready for New York switch|
|Ibrahimovic fumes at awards snub|
|Irvine: No approaches for Berahino|
|Pearson determined to revive Leicester fortunes|
|League Two Preview: First host third as Wycombe meet Luton|
|League One Preview: Buoyant MK Dons eye more glory, Bristol City seek response|
|Championship Preview: Pritchard plotting to end Ipswich run, Bournemouth host Fulham|
|Kaboul place not guaranteed by captaincy - Pochettino|
|Koeman hopeful of Elia deal|
|Atletico president not ruling out Torres return|
|Swansea secure Oliveira signing|
|No excuses for Pellegrini|
|Walcott pace unaffected by injury|
|Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos backs Ronaldo for Ballon d´Or|
|Former PFA chairman Carlisle ´stable´ after serious incident|
|Balotelli remorse saved him from longer ban|
|Bayern midfielder Martinez ´on track´ with rehab|
|Pardew ´overjoyed´ at Gutierrez return|
|Spurs confirm Yedlin to join in January|
|Zeman sacked by Cagliari|
|Casillas: I´m going nowhere|
|Bruce demands McShane apology|
|Pulis would welcome Brighton talks|
|Buffon: Juve angry after Supercoppa loss|
|Arteta out until new year|
|Rangnick: Kampl deserves Dortmund switch|
|PFA offers support to Carlisle after serious incident|
|Napoli can mount title bid - Higuain|
|Cech´s agent urges Liverpool and Arsenal to make bid|
|Hart happy to be back to his best|
|Terry thrilled with ´revelation´ Matic|
|Perez rues ´unfair´ Tyne-Wear derby result|
|Khalfan Ibrahim returns from injury|
|Magath slams ´sensitive´ Fulham|
|´Limited´ attacking options inspire Postecoglou´s selections|
|Carlisle reportedly involved in serious incident|
|Primeira Liga Review: Braga leapfrog Guimaraes|
|Hughes upbeat despite Stoke defeat|