Hallgrimsson steps down as Iceland Coach after country’s first World Cup

Heimir Hallgrimsson - Iceland Coach

Heimir Hallgrimsson has resigned as the head coach for Iceland after spending 7 years with the national team.

The Icelandic Football Association (KSI) tweeted the announcement on Tuesday:“The FA of Iceland can now confirm that Heimir Hallgrimsson will not continue as head coach of the Icelandic men’s national team. Hallgrimsson steps down as Iceland coach at his own request after seven years in the job, having joined in 2011.”

In 2011 he was named as the assistant to then Iceland coach Lars Lagerback and 2 years later became the co-coach alongside the Swede, before collectively leading his nation to a historic quarter-final finish at UEFA EURO 2016 after beating England in the round of 16. Following Lagerback’s departure, Hallgrimsson assumed sole control of the team and they became the smallest country by population to qualify for the World Cup.

Hallgrimsson said in a statement:I feel comfortable and grateful for having been part of this strong team spirit that this group has first and foremost maintained. Part of a group that has led the way for future generations and did so many things for the first time in history. It is a privilege to leave the project at a point like today. The success and performance has created respect for Icelandic football.”

After a modest playing career, The 51-year-old became a dentist and proceeded to work part-time while coaching the national team. Hallgrimsson and Lagerback engineered Iceland’s success, guiding them into their first major tournament in 2016 before Hallgrimsson directed them to World Cup qualification for the first time in history. 

KSI chairman Gudni Bergsson admitted it was a blow to lose Hallgrimsson. He said:We had great hopes that Heimir would continue, but the conclusion is that Heimir will leave the team at his own request. I would like to thank KSI for the cooperation and wish him all the best in the future. KSI will now take the next step in recruiting a new national coach.”

Iceland were mighty impressive in their first World Cup in Russia. Even though they failed to reach the knockout stages, Iceland managed a sensational draw against last World Cup’s finalists Argentina.