Iceland coach Siggi Eyjólfsson has spoken of his desire to build on last year's success at UEFA Women's EURO 2009 after extending his contract until the end of 2012.
Eyjólfsson penned a new deal a week ago, underlining his commitment to a post he has held since 2007. "It's always an honour to coach a national team and the staff around this side is great," said the 37-year-old. "
I'm excited about the prospect of continuing to develop the team: they've been improving like women's football in Iceland as a whole."
Proof of that came last autumn when Iceland made their bow in the UEFA European Women's Championship finals. "I was very pleased with our performance in Finland: it was great to see how we measured up to the best," said Eyjólfsson, whose side suffered narrow defeats by Norway, France and eventual winners Germany. If nothing else, the coach stressed, his inexperienced charges kept the big guns "on their toes".
He added: "Finnish players have come a long way and the finals opened doors for many. Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir got a contract in United States [with Philadelphia Independence] and Sif Atladóttir is now with 1. FC Saarbrücken. It was also good for the others, even those who didn't play so much because it was inspiring. When you have experienced the finals once, you want to go there again."
Iceland have won 24 of their 45 matches under Eyjólfsson, a former striker for KR Reykjavík and English team Walsall FC among others. He believes they can go further, though how far depends on the players; their personal sacrifices and how many can get professional contracts.
Either way, come September when Iceland start off on the road to UEFA Women's EURO 2013, Eyjólfsson says his team will "be aiming for the finals". They will discover their qualifying group in March and begin the year-long group stage in September.
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