Countries you didn’t know were soccer crazy

In these Soccer Nations, fans live and breathe the sport.

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Iceland, with a population of just 300,000, has been able to field a world class national team. Here, the national team takes on the Netherlands in a friendly match. Iceland, with a population of just 300,000, has been able to field a world class national team. Here, the national team takes on the Netherlands in a friendly match. (Photo: HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Iceland

Iceland's men's football success is something of a miracle. The country easily has one of the smallest talent pools in the world from which to pick players, a result of a population that tops out at just above 300,000 people.

It's currently ranked No. 23 in the world by FIFA. If you adjust the top 50 by population, however, Iceland is the No. 1 country by a wide margin. It helps that the country has a cohesive program to develop new talent and a tight-knit community that supports the national squad through thick and thin.

And then there's this: Despite the country's size, it has five professional divisions with a total of 75 teams. Not bad for a country the size of a small American city.

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