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Season review: Iceland

Published: Wednesday 3 October 2012, 11.40CET
A dozen goals from Atli Gudnason helped FH Hafnarfjördur claim their sixth Icelandic title, with cup success offering some consolation for 2011 double winners KR Reykjavík.
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Season review: Iceland
FH celebrate a league goal ©J.L.Long
Published: Wednesday 3 October 2012, 11.40CET

Season review: Iceland

A dozen goals from Atli Gudnason helped FH Hafnarfjördur claim their sixth Icelandic title, with cup success offering some consolation for 2011 double winners KR Reykjavík.

Keeping a low profile paid off for FH Hafnarfjördur, who emerged from the pack in the closing stages to take their sixth Icelandic Premier League title. Double winners in 2011, KR Rejkjavík had the comfort of holding onto the Icelandic Cup.

Champions: FH Hafnarfjördur
FH had failed to win silverware for the first time in seven years in 2011, and were widely predicted to come second to KR this time. Yet nine wins in their final 12 Premier League fixtures helped the Hafnarfjordur side burn off the competition – they clinched the title with three rounds to go. "We were under the radar because most people expected KR to win it," said FH's 37-year-old goalkeeper and captain Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson. "That didn’t bother us. We kept focused on our goal, stuck to our routine and put the pressure on ourselves to win the title."

Cup final: KR Reykjavík 2-1 Stjarnan
KR got to the final the hard way, beating four other top-flight teams – three of them by slender one-goal margins. In the final, last season's league leading scorer Gardar Jóhannsson needed just six minutes to break the deadlock for Stjarnan. Gary Martin equalised on 32 minutes, and Stjarnan twice hit the bar later on. However, KR midfielder Baldur Sigurdsson settled matters with a header six minutes from the end. "It was incredible to score the winning goal," Sigurdsson said. "Of course, you panic a little when Stjarnan take the lead because you want the first goal to get in control, but then again it can be good – a real wake-up call."

European places*
FH Hafnarfjördur – UEFA Champions League
Breidablik – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
ÍBV Vestmannæyjar – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
KR Reykjavík – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*subject to confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Atli Gudnason (FH Hafnarfjördur)
The division's 12-goal top marksman, winger Gudnason also provided 13 assists for the champions. "Being player of the season was not my main target – it was to be an Icelandic champion," the 28-year-old said. "I enjoyed this summer, at a club with great team spirit. As a forward, your defenders' hard work makes you look good. In football, you can always improve, but the key thing is to make sure you are in good shape – then everything is possible. This summer my aim was to get closer to goal because I never score from outside the box and that worked out."

One to watch: Jón Dadi Bödvarsson (Selfoss)
Newcomers Selfoss were relegated, though not for want of effort on the part of striker Bödvarsson, who scored an impressive seven goals. "My plan was to get attention and let fans know about me," the 20-year-old said. "I am pleased with my performance this summer. I did my best. Now I am just waiting to see what happens next. I am sure I will end up in a good place."

Suprise package: KR Reykjavík
The wrong kind of surprise: KR were seen as a shoe-in for the title, but after collecting 23 points from a possible 33 in the first half of the campaign, they picked up just 12 in the second. A fourth-place finish was something of a letdown.

Leading scorer: Atli Gudnason, FH Hafnarfjördur (12 goals)

Number: 8
Since lifting their first championship in 2004, FH have only once gone a season without securing a major domestic honour – in 2011 – with six titles and two Icelandic Cups now to their name. "We are always under pressure, from our supporters but mostly from ourselves," said coach Heimir Gudjónsson.

Relegated: Selfoss, Grindavík

Promoted: Thór Akureyri, Víkingur Ólafsvík

Quote
"It is not enough to be the cool dude on Twitter during the day and then lose it in a game in the evening – you have to have passion for the game."
Breidablik coach Ólafur Kristjánsson questions his players' commitment.

Last updated: 21/01/13 23.56CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=isl/news/newsid=1870692.html#season+review+iceland

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