READING FC striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson revealed he fulfilled a childhood dream when he turned out for Iceland at the World Cup in Russia.

The striker started in Iceland's 2-0 defeat against Nigeria - before they were cruelly knocked out of the competition in the group stages.

Bodvarsson, 25, watched on from the bench in Iceland's opening fixture, a surprising draw with Argentina in the nation's first ever World Cup match.

But a change in shape by boss and dentist Heimir Hallgrímsson saw the former Wolverhampton Wanderers forward get the nod against the Super Eagles, alongside Reading FC academy graduate Gylfi Sigurdsson.

"I was just shaking with excitement," reflected Bodvarsson. "I called my family and let them know. They were so proud and happy.

"It was so exciting. I almost had a hard time sleeping the day before.

"Being on the pitch on that stage was such an amazing experience and it's something I will keep reminding myself about forever.

"It was the first time in the nation's history. We could feel the country behind us no matter what.

"Even though I didn't play in the first game, even getting a draw against Argentina was a huge win for Iceland as a country."

Bodvarsson quickly established himself as a fans' favourite at Reading after moving from Wolves to Madejski Stadium last summer.

His impressive work-rate stood out in what was ultimately a disappointing season for the Royals and he was selected for Hallgrimsson's World Cup squad.

And despite being knocked out of the contest, Bodvarsson remains hopeful he can inspire the next generation of Icelandic footballers.

He continued: "The national team we have today is kind of a golden generation.

"I hope that we will be consistent and follow up our success. When I was young, our national team at the time was never close to even qualifying.

"You didn't grow up really believing that we could get there.

"That's the beauty of it today. You get so much satisfaction knowing that you're giving young kids hope and dreams that it's possible.

"For me, that's the biggest success of it all. To be a role model for the younger generation."

And while the 25-year-old admitted he was rooting for England to take the World Cup home this season, Bodvarsson tipped Croatia as his favourites to win the contest.

The striker, whore scored 10 goals for Reading last season, will now enjoy a short holiday before linking up with Royals as part of their pre-season tour to Austria.

But remembering his time in Russia, Bodvarsson concluded: "It was a different kind of experience. There is nothing like it.

"Just to be on that stage was a childhood dream. Just being there was almost ridiculous.

"It was like a carnival atmosphere. People were waving and cheering wherever you went.

"I've learned that anything is possible. I've learned that everything is achievable and you can play at that level.

"It's a proud moment for us all."