The Iceland national football team represents Iceland in men’s international football. The team is controlled by the Football Association of Iceland and has been a member of FIFA since 1947 and UEFA since 1957. The team’s nickname is Strakarnir, which means our boys in Icelandic. Iceland Football History.

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Iceland Best Team in the World

The team has enjoyed success in the second half of the 2010s. In the qualifying round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Iceland reached the playoffs before losing to Croatia. Iceland reached their first major tournament at UEFA Euro 2016 after a qualification campaign that included home and away wins against the Netherlands. After progressing to the knockout stages of Euro 2016, Iceland defeated England in the round of 16 to reach the quarter-finals, where they lost 5–2 to hosts France.

When they qualified for the 2018 tournament on 9 October 2017, they became the smallest nation by population to qualify for a FIFA World Cup berth. They drew with Argentina in their opening match, But despite that, they were eliminated from the group stage.

Early History

Although the Úrvalsdeild, the Icelandic football league, was founded in 1912, the country’s first international match was played on 29 July 1930 against the Faroe Islands. Although Iceland won 1–0, both teams were non-affiliated with FIFA at the time. The first match officially recognized by FIFA took place on 17 July 1946 in Reykjavik, a 0–3 defeat to their future rivals Denmark. The first international victory was against Finland in 1947.

For the first 20 years of the Football Association of Iceland’s (KSI) existence, the team mostly did not participate in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship. Iceland applied to participate in the qualification for the 1954 World Cup, but the application was rejected. In qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, Iceland finished last in their group with zero wins, conceding 26 goals.

Greenland Cup

In 1980, Iceland won the first edition of the friendly tournament known as the Greenland Cup.

Since 1974, the team has qualified for every World Cup and European Championship. In 1994, the team reached its then-best position in the FIFA World Rankings, 37th. This record stood until 2016 when he managed to reach the 21st position. In a friendly against Estonia on 24 April 1996 in Tallinn, Eiour Smari Guojohnsen came on as a substitute for his father Arnor. This is the first time that father and son are playing in the same international match.

Euro 2004

In qualifying for Euro 2004, Iceland finished third in their group, one point behind Scotland. As a result, they failed to qualify for a playoff spot.

However, the following qualifying campaigns would be much more difficult for Iceland who would flirt with the last places in their respective groups, especially during the Euro 2008 qualifiers where despite two unexpected wins against Northern Ireland ( 3-0 in the opening round, 2. -1 at home in the return)

Iceland National Football Team

The lack of selection results was due to the absence of professionals on the island, with Icelandic players playing soccer for fun. Furthermore, the hostile climate where winter lasts for 8 months did not help the development of the sport, there were only two artificial fields forcing footballers to train on gravel or in snow. In the 2000s, Icelandic football would experience a real revolution.

The economic boom will allow authorities to build major structures with indoor pitches on artificial turf, resulting in year-round football practice without worrying about the weather conditions outside. These new structures encourage young people to take up sports and even lead to a reduction in alcohol and tobacco use among young people.

In 2014

In 2014, Iceland almost qualified for their first World Cup. Finishing second in Group D, they faced Croatia in a two-league playoff to qualify. After drawing them 0-0 in the home league, they lost 2-0.

World Ranking

Iceland qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 2015 when they finished second in Group A in qualifying for Euro 2016, losing just two games, and beating the Netherlands – who finished third at the 2014 World Cup. Been on – twice. During qualification, he reached his then-highest ranking in the FIFA World Rankings, 23rd. Iceland was placed in a group with Portugal, Hungary, and Austria for the final tournament.

In the finals of the tournament, Iceland recorded 1–1 draws in their first two group stage matches against Portugal and Hungary. They then advanced from their group with a 2–1 victory over Austria. Iceland qualified for the quarter-finals of the tournament after a 2–1 upset win over England in the Round of 16, which led England manager Roy Hodgson to resign in disgrace shortly after the final whistle. However, they were eliminated 5–2 by hosts France in the quarterfinals.

2018 FIFA World Cup

Iceland qualified for the 2018 World Cup, their first appearance at a world championship, after qualifying with a 2–0 win over Kosovo on 9 October 2017. In doing so, they became the least populated country ever to reach the final. Iceland was drawn to play Croatia, Argentina, and Nigeria in a group that many considered the “Group of Death”.

Despite a challenging group, Iceland was tipped by several journalistic websites to advance from the group based on their impressive performance at Euro 2016. Their first match at the World Cup was against 2014 runners-up Argentina, in which Iceland surprisingly beat Argentina 1-1. -1 draw.

Euro 2020

After Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, Iceland was expect to play in Euro 2020. However, the team is playing ahead of the brand new Nations League, where they are in Group 2 of League A alongside Switzerland and Belgium. But Strakarnir is showing worrisome signs: the post-World Cup period is difficult as Iceland conceded 4 defeats in 4 games, including a severe opening blow in Switzerland (0-6) where they lost all parts of the game.

Many of Iceland’s international matches were marred by the frequent absence of some of their key players, often due to injury; While Iceland’s defense, often unbeaten in previous important matches is proving more and more difficult to replace its usual key players with a new generation of young defenders. Due to a rule change finalized by UEFA, Iceland has not been include in League B for the 2020-2021 edition. Iceland Football History.

World Champions

In Group H of the Euro qualifiers with world champions France, Turkey, Albania, Andorra, and Moldova. The Icelanders are convincingly on the accounting level and are not surprise by the lesser opponents (Moldova and Andorra). However, they have had more difficulties (eg 0-6 in Switzerland) and lost three games. Including two against Les Bleus (4-0 at Stade de France and 1-0 at home) and a crushing 4–2 defeat against Albania. However, they continue to outscore the Turks with 4 out of 6 points and remain the only unbeaten team. Iceland Football History.

Group to defeat this team. Third behind Turkey and France, the Icelanders won 2-1 in the first playoff game. Against Romania thanks to Gulfi Sigursson’s brace in the first half (16th and 34th minutes). And Romania’s penalty kick in the second. Despite the scoreline drop, VAR advice will have to be negotiate at half-time and a perilous trip to Hungary, who won in Bulgaria (3-1) and beat Croatia (2-1) in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Made a good impression at home in Group E. and Wales (1-0). Iceland Football History.

UEFA Nations League

In their playoff game against Hungary on 12 November 2020, Iceland came close to qualifying for Euro 2020. As they took a 1–0 lead for almost the entire match, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s direct free kick scoring the winner. Helped well by mistake. Goalkeeper Peter Gulácsi (11th minute), as Hungary, scored two goals in less than five minutes. The first by Loïc Nego in the 88th minute to surprise Iceland. And the second by Dominik Szoboszlai in the second minute of extra time. did, which proved to be the winner. Hungary beat Iceland 2-1. Iceland Football History.

Iceland also suffered a poor run of results in their UEFA Nations League campaign in League A. Losing all of their group stage matches and failing to pick up a single point. Resulting in their relegation for the following season. They were out of League B. After their poor performance that year, manager Eric Hammeren eventually resigned. For more details click here