Iceland Qualifies for Women’s Handball Euro

Stavanger, Norway

With a victory over the Faroe Islands Sunday, Iceland women’s national handball team has qualified for the 2024 European Women’s Handball Championship.

Iceland beat the Faroe Islands 24-20 with a big performance from Elín Klara Þorkelsdóttir, who scored 10 goals, RÚV reports. Goalkeeper Elín Jóna Þorsteinsdóttir blocked 16 shots, including three penalty shots.

Dominant performance

The Faroese team led for part of the first half, but Iceland took over the game, leading by four goals at half-time. Iceland’s defence was stellar, limiting Faroe Islands to 8 goals in the first half. Iceland held the lead for the entire second half.

At the end of the game, which took place at Ásvellir stadium in Hafnarfjörður, there was much celebration, as the Faroe Islands also secured qualification despite the loss.

Back in the big tournaments

The tournament will take place in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland in November and December this year and will feature 24 teams. Norway are the two time defending champions.

Iceland has appeared in the tournament twice before, in 2010 and 2012. The women’s national handball team also qualified for the World Championship last year, where the team beat Congo to finish in 25th place.

Iceland’s Road to Euro 2025 Kicks Off With Match Against Poland

Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir

The Icelandic women’s national football team will face Poland at 4.45 PM today in the 2025 European Championship qualifiers. The team has faced a busy schedule over the past few months, according to team captain Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir.

A place in the 2025 Euro Finals at stake

The Icelandic women’s national football team has faced a busy schedule in recent months, with upcoming matches against Poland and Germany in the 2025 European Championship qualifiers up ahead. Today, the team will face Poland at Kópavogsvöllur Stadium at 4.45 PM before squaring off against Germany on Tuesday.

The upcoming games mark the start of the 2025 Euro qualifying tournament. Iceland will compete in League A Group 4. The teams that secure the two top spots in the qualifiers will automatically advance to the finals, which will be held in Switzerland during the summer of 2025. The remaining seven spots will be decided by two rounds of play-offs held between October to December of this year.

An unusual number of matches

As noted by Mbl.is, the upcoming matches against Poland and Germany will be the team’s ninth and tenth games since September of last year; Iceland played eight matches in the Nations League from September 22 to February 27.

“This is unusual, an unusually large number of competitions and an unusually large number of successive important matches,” team captain Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir stated at a press conference at the Football Association of Iceland’s headquarters (KSÍ) in Laugardalur yesterday. Iceland played two matches against Serbia in February, where a spot in the A division of the Nations League was at stake. Iceland won a narrow 3:2 victory in the duel.

“It’s unusual to come to Iceland in February to play important international matches. We are always working on being better as a team and achieving a better rhythm … all matches are important now, and it’s challenging for us to achieve results, on top of getting ourselves organised. We are on our way to the European Championship qualifiers and it means incredibly much to us. We are all hungry to do well and achieve our goals,” Glódís observed.

Women’s Handball Team Seeks Crucial Points in Euro Qualifiers

Iceland crowd

The women’s national handball team will face Luxembourg today in a vital away match for the 2024 European Women’s Handball Championship qualifiers. Iceland needs a win to boost their qualification hopes ahead of their final group game against the Faroe Islands on Sunday.

A vital match

The final stages of the 2024 European Women’s Handball Championship qualifiers are approaching, with Iceland facing Luxembourg in an away match for the penultimate match of the group.

As noted by RÚV, Iceland is in a strong position within the group, holding four points, the same as the Faroe Islands. Sweden meanwhile has already secured a spot in the tournament, leading the group with eight points, or a full tally. Luxembourg sits at the bottom of the group without any points.

Those teams that secure the two top spots in the group will automatically qualify for the European Championship. It is also possible for the third-place team to qualify for the championship depending on the number of points accumulated by third-place teams once all the matches across the eight groups have been played.

As noted by RÚV, Iceland needs a victory against Luxembourg today to improve its position before facing the Faroe Islands in the final match on Sunday. The Faroe Islands and Sweden will meet in Tórshavn tonight. If Sweden wins its game and Iceland defeats Luxembourg, the Icelandic team will have six points, while the Faroe Islands will remain at four.

Iceland defeated Luxembourg in their first encounter 32-14. The Icelandic team also secured a victory against the Faroe Islands in Tórshavn 28-23. The match between Iceland and Luxembourg starts at 4.45 PM today. It will be broadcast live on RÚV.

Defense Key in Iceland’s Qualifying Final

football soccer

Iceland’s men’s national football team will play Ukraine tonight in the clinching qualifying match to see which team will advance to the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship in Germany this summer.

The match will take place in Wroclaw in Poland. Iceland defeated Israel 4-1 to advance to this qualifying final, while Ukraine beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1. Either Iceland or Ukraine will take the final spot in Group E this summer along with Belgium, Slovakia and Romania.

Ukraine is ranked number 24 in the world by FIFA, while Iceland sits in 73d place.

Defense key

Football analyst Hörður Magnússon told RÚV that despite a decisive victory against Israel, Iceland’s play was not without flaws. “This was a game that we could have lost, but we earned the win,” he said.

Ukraine is a different opponent altogether, he added. “The Ukraine team is incredibly disciplined. They have four starting players who play in the English Premier League. It’s absolutely clear that the Icelandic team will need to defend better as a whole. They’ll be punished for the most minor mistakes,” Hörður said.

Iceland has a chance

Hörður added that despite Ukraine having a better team on paper, the match will take place at a neutral stadium in Poland. He expects Iceland supporters to attend the game in droves. “I’m not saying it’s going to be a 50/50 match, but we have a chance,” he said. “We’re looking better as a team than we did a year ago, not to mention two years ago.”

Iceland Triumphs Over Israel, Eyes Playoff Finals Against Ukraine

Icelandic fans at the World Cup in Russia in 2018

Head coach Åge Hareide has praised Iceland’s team spirit and character in their 4-1 victory over Israel yesterday. The performance secured the team a spot in the UEFA Euro playoff finals against Ukraine on Tuesday.

Excellent team spirit

Åge Hareide, head coach of the men’s national football team, expressed his delight after Iceland’s 4-1 victory over Israel last night, a win that secured Iceland a spot in the final match of the UEFA Euro finals on Tuesday. Iceland will face off against Ukraine, with the winning team advancing to the UEFA European Championship in Germany next summer.

“I’m very pleased,” Hareide told Vísir yesterday. “I thought the boys did well, and they worked hard. Not everything was perfect, but the effort and talent of the players shone through. Luck plays a part, and you earn your luck.”

As noted by Vísir, Hareide was particularly pleased with the team’s character; Israel took the lead shortly after Orri Steinn Óskarsson squandered a golden opportunity.

“The spirit in the team has been good in training. This is a good group of players who stick together. They didn’t hang their heads but continued to work after Orri’s chance and then the penalty against us. Everything seemed against us, but they turned it around, which was very well done. This is good for the team and the morale in the squad.”

Hareide also praised Albert Guðmundsson, who scored a hat-trick in the match.

“He was superb. I’ve seen all his games with Genoa, where he has been doing very well. I knew he would be very important to us if he could play; that was the question. We’re very happy that he could join us and hope everything goes our way in the next game.”

On a less optimistic note, two players, Arnór Ingvi Traustason and Arnór Sigurðsson, were forced off during yesterday’s match with injuries. Team captain Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson was also sidelined ahead of yesterday’s match against an injury, and it remains uncertain whether these three players will be fit to face  Ukraine on Tuesday.

Captain-Less Iceland Takes on Israel in Euro Play-Off Match

Iceland football team

Iceland’s national football team captain, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, is sidelined with a thigh injury and will miss tonight’s UEFA European Championship play-off semi-final against Israel. If Iceland wins tonight’s match, the team will advance to the finals match of the playoffs, facing either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 26.

More serious than initially suspected

The Icelandic men’s national football team has suffered a significant setback as captain Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson is injured and will not participate in tonight’s UEFA European Championship playoff semi-final against Israel, RÚV reports.

Jóhann Berg has had limited involvement in the team’s training sessions, and it has now been confirmed that his injury is more serious than initially thought. In a press conference yesterday, Jóhann Berg revealed that he had suffered a thigh injury.

Mikael Egill Ellertsson will wear jersey number 7, usually worn by Jóhann Berg. As noted by RÚV, 23 players have been registered for Iceland’s squad by UEFA today, as opposed to the full 24 selected by coach Åge Hareide for the task, in light of Jóhann Berg’s injury.

Centre-back and vice-captain Sverrir Ingi Ingason is expected to lead the team into this crucial match against Israel tonight. If Iceland wins tonight’s match, the team will advance to the finals match of the playoffs, facing either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 26.

As noted on UEFA’s website, “the playoffs are all single-leg knockout matches. If ties are level at the end of normal time they go to extra time and, if required, a penalty shoot-out.” Iceland’s match against Israel tonight will take place at the Szusza Ferenc Stadium in Budapest, as UEFA has deemed it unsafe to host matches in Israel. The match is scheduled to start at 19:45 Icelandic time.

Goalkeepers:
Elías Rafn Ólafsson – CD Mafra – 6 matches
Hákon Rafn Valdimarsson – Brentford – 7 matches
Patrik Sigurður Gunnarsson – Viking FK – 4 matches

Outfielders:
Guðmundur Þórarinsson – OFI Crete – 13 matches
Kolbeinn Birgir Finnsson – Lyngby Boldklub – 9 matches
Daníel Leó Grétarsson – Sonderjyske Fodbold – 15 matches
Sverrir Ingi Ingason – FC Midtjylland – 47 matches, 3 goals
Hjörtur Hermannsson – Pisa SC – 27 matches, 1 goal
Guðlaugur Victor Pálsson – K.A.S. Eupen – 42 matches, 1 goal
Alfons Sampsted – FC Twente – 21 matches
Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson – Burnley – 90 matches, 8 goals (injured)
Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson – Fortuna Düsseldorf – 24 matches, 3 goals
Arnór Ingvi Traustason – IFK Norrköping – 54 matches, 5 goals
Hákon Arnar Haraldsson – LOSC Lille – 15 matches, 3 goals
Kristian Nökkvi Hlynsson – AFC Ajax – 1 match
Jón Dagur Þorsteinsson – OH Leuven – 33 matches, 4 goals
Mikael Egill Ellertsson – Venezia FC – 14 matches, 1 goal
Mikael Neville Anderson – AGF – 24 matches, 2 goals
Arnór Sigurðsson – Blackburn Rovers – 20 matches, 2 goals
Willum Þór Willumsson – Go Ahead Eagles – 8 matches
Orri Steinn Óskarsson – FC Köbenhavn – 6 matches, 2 goals
Andri Lucas Guðjohnsen – Lyngby Boldklub – 20 matches, 6 goals
Alfreð Finnbogason – K.A.S. Eupen – 73 matches, 18 goals
Albert Guðmundsson – Genoa CFC – 35 matches, 6 goals

Gylfi Sigurðsson Disappointed Over National Team Snub

Footballer

Footballer Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson, recently signed by Valur, has reportedly not been selected for Iceland’s national team for the upcoming playoff against Israel. In an interview with DV yesterday, Gylfi described the decision as “a huge disappointment,” insisting that he is in better physical condition now than in previous selections.

“A huge disappointment”

Yesterday, it was revealed that footballer Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson – recently signed with the Icelandic football team Valur – would not be among those players selected for the national football squad ahead of a crucial playoff match against Israel on March 21. Iceland needs to win two matches in the playoffs to secure a spot in the UEFA Euro 2024 finals in Germany this summer. The squad is expected to be announced today.

Gylfi expressed his feelings about Hareide’s decision in an interview with DV yesterday:

“It’s a huge disappointment. It’s one of the main reasons why I have continued playing. I have always enjoyed myself most with the national team and playing for Iceland … I tried to be ready for these games over the past few months – to no avail; unfortunately, I’m not in the squad,” Gylfi observed, adding that he is in better condition now than last autumn when Hareide selected him.

Gylfi has been struggling with an injury over the past few months.

“I would have trusted myself to do so. Despite minor injuries, I feel I’m in better condition now than against Liechtenstein last autumn. I feel better physically. My legs are stronger, and unlike the last time when I was selected, I have not gone a long time without playing football. I would have more than trusted myself to play with the national team,” Gylfi remarked.

Plans for New National Arena Announced

Laugardalur, Reykjavík

A new National Arena for sports will seat 8,600 attendees and be opened to the public in 2027 or 2028. At a press conference yesterday, Minister of Education and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason announced an open competition for the design and construction of the building, which is to be located in Laugardalur in Reykjavík.

The National Arena will cost an approximate ISK 15 Billion [$110 Million, €100 Million] and will be in 55% ownership of the Icelandic state and 45% by Reykjavík city, Mbl.is reports.

Handball championship dreams

Iceland has a joint bid with Denmark and Norway to host the 2029 or 2031 World Men’s Handball Championship. When asked about the arena’s capacity, Ásmundur said jovially that that he could see the arena being completely packed with people “when Iceland becomes world champion”.

The design competition will be open to teams that include an architect, an engineer and contractors. Qualifying teams will receive funding to prepare a design proposal and a bid in accordance with specs and cost projections.

Football, track and field next

Two other sports-related construction projects are still in the early stages, a National Stadium for football and a National Stadium for track and field. Ásmundur said that the arena was being prioritised as it could be completed more easily and service youth sports and local sport clubs as well.

Olympics Dream Over for Iceland

The Iceland men’s national handball team saw its hopes for a berth at the 2024 Summer Olympics in France slip away last night. Despite beating Austria 26 to 24 in a pivotal game yesterday afternoon, an unfavourable result in another match meant that Iceland would not move on to the Olympics qualifiers in March.

Iceland’s team has not appeared in the Olympics since the 2012 London games. The team has historically been competitive on the international stage and handball remains very popular in Iceland. The team’s greatest success was the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

Victory in a must-win game

Iceland faced Austria in a must-win game yesterday, the last one of the main round. The team’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stage had already been dashed, but an important consolation prize loomed if everything went right; placement in the Olympics qualifiers.

Iceland saw its first half lead slip away in the second half as the offence stagnated. Scoreless for a 14 minutes stretch, Iceland was still able to secure the victory by two goals in the end. Both starting goalkeepers, Austria’s Constantin Möstl and Iceland’s Viktor Hallgrímsson, played superbly. Sigvaldi Björn Guðjónsson scored eight goals for Iceland and Aron Pálmarsson seven.

France too strong

With a victory in hand, Iceland’s team would need to wait for results from the match between France and Hungary. France had already secured a spot as one of the four teams to move on to the second round, while Hungary would stand a fighting chance with a win over France. A Hungary victory or a tie would have given Iceland a shot at the Olympics qualifiers. However, France proved too dominant and secured the victory.

 

Iceland’s Hopes of a Medal Dashed

Iceland men’s national handball team lost to Germany in their main round match-up of the 2024 European men’s handball championship yesterday. The defeat means that the team now has no chance of climbing the standings to reach the knockout rounds and compete for a medal.

Iceland still has a chance of winning enough games to secure a spot in the Olympics qualifiers to be held in March. They must win at least two of their last three games for that to be possible, Morgunblaðið reports. Reaching the qualifiers is Iceland’s last chance to compete for a berth at this year’s Summer Olympics in France.

A tough defeat

The match took place at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, with rivals Germany enjoying home court advantage as hosts of the tournament. Germany led by one goal at half-time, but when 10 minutes were left, Iceland took its first lead of the game. By the end, Germany pulled back in front and held on to their lead. Iceland’s top scorer was Janus Daði Smárason with six goals. Juri Knorr scored six for Germany as well.

“I’m hurt, upset, and bummed out,” coach Snorri Steinn Guðjónsson told Morgunblaðið after the game. “At the same time, I’m proud of the boys.”

Icelandic record broken

Iceland will face France Saturday, Croatia Monday and Austria Wednesday. Iceland needs at least two victories against these tough opponents to reach the Olympics qualifiers and must secure more points than at least one of Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and the Netherlands to stand a chance.

An Icelandic record was broken yesterday when France’s 40-year old Nikola Karabatic scored his 289th goal in his European championship career. The record for most goals in the tournament was previously held by retired Iceland player Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson, who scored 288 competition goals during his illustrious handball career.