Norwegian coach Åge Hareide has taken over as the head coach of the men’s national football team. Two weeks have passed since head coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson was let go.
An experienced coach
In a press release today, the Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ) announced that it had hired Norwegian Åge Hareide as coach of the men’ national football team. Iceland’s first games under Hareide will be home matches against Slovakia and Portugal on June 17 and June 20 respectively at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium. The games are part of the qualifiers for the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament.
As noted in the press release, Hareide is well known to football fans and has a long career as a coach of some of the biggest clubs in the Nordic countries, as well as having coached the national teams of Norway and Denmark for years with considerable success. Hareide was in charge of the Norwegian national team between 2003 and 2008 and led the Danish national team between 2016 and 2020.
Vanda Sigurgeirsdóttir, Chair of KSÍ, is quoted as saying that Hareide is an extremely experienced coach: “[He knows what it takes to be successful. The whole search and recruitment process went relatively quickly, as we had certain ideas about the profile we wanted for the job. I am very satisfied with the appointment and have high hopes for the good results of the men’s national team under the leadership of Åge.”
Has followed the Icelandic team for quite some time
The press release also features a few quotes from Haredie: “I have followed the Icelandic team for quite some time, especially around the years that the team went to the European Championship in 2016 and the World Cup in 2018. I am looking forward to the challenge of helping the team succeed again.”
Hareide went on to say that Iceland boasts many strong players.
“I have seen many of them play for their club teams in Scandinavia and have also coached several Icelandic players over the years. In general, they are reliable and hardworking, but also disciplined players with tactical intelligence, and you need these qualities to be successful in national team football.”
“Our goal is to get to the European Championship in 2024. I remember well the Icelandic fans in France 2016. They had a very unique atmosphere and passion. It would be great to be able to give them the opportunity to repeat the game and we hope that the stands will be full of people at our home ground in Reykjavík.”
Two weeks since Arnar Þór Viðarsson was let go
As previously reported by IR, head coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson was let go towards the end of March following a 7-0 victory against Liechtenstein. Yesterday, KSÍ published several minutes from board meetings in the lead up to Arnar’s termination. These include joint minutes from two meetings held on March 29 and 30 – when the fate of head coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson’s was ultimately sealed.
The minutes state that the board discussed the state of the national team in detail and that there was a consensus that the last international break had been a disappointment. “It is clear that faith in the road ahead has waned,” the minutes state. The board decided to discuss the issue in more detail at a follow-up meeting the next day.
The meeting was adjourned before 9 PM. Sixteen hours later, at 1 PM, the board met for a meeting via the Teams electronic communication programme. After a forty-minute meeting, the result was to relieve Arnar Þór of his duties immediately and entrust the Chair of KSÍ to start the search for a new national team coach.