ICELAND QUALIFYING FOR EURO 2017

Iceland’s national women’s soccer team has been a tour de force for the past few years, and have risen rapidly in the FIFA rankings. The women have already secured their place at Euro 2017 in the Netherlands next summer — their third consecutive time achieving that feat — despite having lost to Scotland in the final game of the qualifying rounds. In the Netherlands, they will face France, Austria, and Switzerland in group C.

Now there are
until the next Icelandic match

ICELAND’S JOURNEY TO EURO 2017

Women On the Field

Although soccer arrived in Iceland in the late 19th century, it wasn’t until the 1970s that a women’s tournament, a precursor to the league, was officially established. This was not due to lack of interest; in 1914 a group of women founded the soccer club Hvöt in Ísafjörður, as a protest against the local football club’s ban against women practicing soccer, and a year later, in 1915, the Reykjavík club Víkingur established its own women’s team. These efforts, however, were met with criticism among their male counterparts and discontinued soon after.

In the 1960s, women handball players began to experiment with soccer as a warm-up method before practices, and a way to keep fit off-season. With more women turning to the sport, interest took off again, and in 1970 the first official women’s soccer match, between Keflavík’s and Reykjavík’s All-Star teams, was played at Laugardalsvöllur, as a warm-up to a men’s international match.

Two years later, the first women’s soccer tournament in Iceland took place. Two groups of four teams participated, and Hafnarfjörður’s FH wound up as victors. In the subsequent years, more clubs would introduce female squads within their ranks. Yet, even though these teams were often very successful, several clubs decided to drop the program without specifying a reason behind it - so much that in 1980, only three clubs were enlisted into the tournament.

Iceland’s Women's Team Soccer Established... and Discontinued

In 1981, after some lobbying by the chairman of the Icelandic Soccer Association at the time, the decision was made to form a women’s national team. They played Scotland abroad that same year, but lost the game by a single goal, 2-3.

The team entered Euro qualifying in 1982, but failed to qualify for the final stages. This led to a decision not to enter the team in the subsequent year, a decision that was met with harsh criticism and a petition, signed by almost 3000 women. The withdrawal from competition meant that they wouldn’t be able to participate again until 1987. Before that happened, however, the squad was disbanded and the women’s national soccer team discontinued, in 1987.

Returning in 1993, the team kept improving gradually, learning from previous experiences, and a new generation of women soccer players. Already in 1994, it made the second leg of the qualifying stages for Euro ‘95 in Germany, where they were defeated by England in the play-offs.

The Rise of Women Professional Players

In 2001, two women soccer players were signed on as professional soccer players in the United States, and the same year local club KR made it into UEFA’s Women’s Championship League, as the first Icelandic contender.

The year 2008 marks a new era for the Icelandic national women’s soccer team. 10 players from the national squad turned professional that year. The team qualified for Euro 2009 in Finland, as the first Icelandic national soccer team to qualify for the final stages of any major tournament.

A couple of years later, the team qualified again, this time for Euro 2013 in Sweden, and made it all the way into the quarterfinals, where they were defeated by the hosts. Icelandair has a long standing tradition of supporting the Icelandic Soccer Association and we are proud to lend the national women’s soccer team our support on their journey.

Highlights of Icelandic Women’s Soccer

  • In 2008, the women’s squad qualified for the final stages of a major tournament, Euro 2009 in Finland. This was a first time achievement for Icelandic soccer at a national level.
  • In 2013, having repeated their feat by qualifying for Euro 2013 in Sweden, the Icelandic women’s team managed to secure the first points obtained in major tournament finals, in a draw against Norway.

The Icelandic Women’s Euro Squad

No Name Year of Birth International Duty Matches Goals Club
1 Guðbjörg Gunnarsdóttir 1985 2004-2017 52 Djurgårdens IF
12 Sandra Sigurðardóttir 1986 2005-2017 16 Valur
13 Sonný Lára Þráinsdóttir 1986 2016-2017 3 Breiðablik
2 Sif Atladóttir 1985 2007-2017 64 Kristianstad
3 Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir 1997 2017 3 Breiðablik
4 Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir 1995 2012-2017 55 2 FC Rosengård
11 Hallbera Guðný Gísladóttir 1986 2008-2017 85 3 Djurgården
14 Málfríður Erna Sigurðardóttir 1984 2003-2017 33 2 Valur
19 Anna Björk Kristjánsdóttir 1989 2013-2017 31 Limhamm Bunkeflo
21 Arna Sif Ásgrímsdóttir 1992 2015-2017 12 1 Valur
5 Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir 1988 2011-2017 43 5 Vålerenga
6 Hólmfríður Magnúsdóttir 1984 2003-2017 110 37 KR
7 Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir 1990 2007-2017 107 18 VfL Wolfsburg
8 Sigríður Lára Garðarsdóttir 1994 2016-2017 9 ÍBV
10 Dagný Brynjarsdóttir 1991 2010-2017 71 19 Portland Thorns
18 Sandra María Jessen 1995 2012-2017 18 6 Þór/KA
22 Rakel Hönnudóttir 1988 2008-2017 83 5 Breiðablik
9 Katrín Ásbjörnsdóttir 1992 2013-2017 14 1 Stjarnan
15 Elín Metta Jensen 1995 2012-2017 29 5 Valur
16 Harpa Þorsteinsdóttir 1986 2006-2017 62 18 Stjarnan
17 Agla María Albertsdóttir 1999 2017 5 Stjarnan
20 Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir 1992 2010-2017 27 1 Breiðablik
23 Fanndís Friðriksdóttir 1990 2009-2017 85 10 Breiðablik

And of course the coaches:
Freyr Alexandersson
Ásmundur Haraldsson
Ólafur Pétursson