That Iceland would make their first U17 finals since 2007 seemed unlikely when they began the qualifying round with a 5-1 loss to Switzerland, yet they had started the season by winning the Nordic Cup and after beating Greece and Israel were through.
The key, though, was twice equalising against Denmark to open the elite round in Scotland with a 2-2 draw, and after overcoming the hosts 1-0 they trailed the 2011 semi-finalists by only one goal. By beating Lithuania 4-0 Iceland were through, as Denmark were only 3-2 winners against Scotland; almost as dramatic as their 2007 qualification, sealed with a 6-5 defeat of Russia which meant they pipped Portugal on goals scored.
"Our target was clear, the mindset too, and together the boys were ready to earn success," coach Gunnar Gudmundsson said. "It is not enough to set a goal – you have to know how to get there and create the right team spirit. The boys have set their minds on a top-four finish in the finals. That is possible and I agree with them."
Hjörtur Hermannsson (defender, Fylkir), Oliver Sigurjónsson (midfielder, AGF Århus), Orri Sigurdur Ómarsson (defender, AGF Århus), Stefán Thór Pálsson (forward, Breidablik).
Coach: Gunnar Gudmundsson
Date of Birth: 4 August 1969
Playing career: ÍK Kópavogur, Víkingur, FC Teutonia 05, FC Langenhorn, HK Kópavogur, Spvgg Blankenese, Valur Reykjavík, Leiknir, Leiftur/Dalvík, Stjarnan.
Coaching career: Hamburger SV (youth), Spvgg Blankenese (youth), Víkingur (youth), Leiknir, Leiftur/Dalvík, HK Kópavogur, Iceland U17.
A former defender, Gudmundsson took over the Iceland U17 team in 2009 and in his first season fell in the qualifying round, as they had done every season since getting to the 2007 finals. But they made the elite round the next campaign and in 2011/12 progressed all the way to the finals in Slovenia.
UEFA European Under-17 Championship best
Group stage: 2007
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.