The Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ) have confirmed that Lars Lagerbäck will take over as coach of the national team from January 2012, replacing Ólafur Jóhannesson.
The 63-year-old Swedish trainer has agreed a two-year contract and his assistant will be Heimir Hallgrímsson, who has led ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar to a UEFA Europa League qualifying berth. Lagerbäck was Sweden coach from 2000 to 2009, taking his country to three UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups, before leading Nigeria in the 2010 World Cup finals.
He will become the first non-Icelandic coach of the national team for 20 years when he finishes his one-year part-time role as technical adviser with the Swedish Football Association (SvFF). Iceland failed to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012 after mustering four points from their eight Group H qualifiers.
"Iceland was the only concrete option I was offered," said Lagerbäck at a press conference today. "It is a privilege to have this job. I have been talking to Geir Thorsteinsson [KSÍ president] for some weeks and it has been very positive. I have always had a respect for Icelandic football. It is a small country like Sweden and it is always difficult for a small country to go a long way in competitions. I like to call myself a realistic optimist and am looking forward to working with Heimir and the rest of the team."
The former Kilafors IF, Arbrå BK, Hudiksvalls ABK and Sweden Under-21 coach intends to spend as much time as possible in Iceland and would like to help other Icelandic national teams and with coaching education. "I would like to co-operate as much as possible with Eyjölfur Sverrisson, the U21 coach, if he wants to," he added.
Hallgrímsson, 44, had been ÍBV coach for the last five years but had already announced this would be his last season with the Vestmanna Islands team. "I am ready for this," he said. "It is a great honour to be offered this task and also to work with Lagerbäck. I will try to learn a lot from him. My contract did not take long. We met on Thursday evening and talked again on Friday morning. We will now discuss the next step but I think we will work well together and assist each other."
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