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UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009 was the first senior final tournament for either men or women to feature a team from Iceland, and they are back again.
The closest they had come in the past was 1995, when they lost a two-legged quarter-final to England, and they also reached the 1997 and 2005 play-offs, beaten respectively by eventual winners Germany and finalists Norway. The appointment of Siggi Eyjólfsson as coach in 2007, however, produced immediate success as they reached the 2009 finals in Finland, and having run France close in 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying, made it through again to Sweden.
They began qualifying superbly by beating Norway 3-1, but five dropped points against Belgium allowed the two-time champions to catch them and snatch first place in the final game. Still, Iceland held off Ukraine in the play-offs, the prolific Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir reaching a double-figure goal tally in qualifying for the second EURO campaign running. Vidarsdóttir is one of several Swedish-based professionals in the squad.
Qualifying round: Group 3 runners-up, P10 W7 D1 L2 F28 A4 Pts22
Katrín Jónsdóttir (defender, Djurgårdens IF DFF), Dóra Maria Lárusdóttir (forward, Valur Reykjavík), Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir (forward, Kristianstads DFF)
Coach: Siggi Eyjólfsson
Date of birth: 1 December 1973
Playing career: KR Reykjavík, ÍA Akranes, UNC Greensboro Spartans, Walsall FC, Chester City FC, KRC Harelbeke
Coaching career: Iceland
The first man to lead an Iceland team to a senior final tournament in either men's or women's football, Siggi Eyjólfsson had a cosmpolitan playing career before moving into coaching.
Entering the youth ranks of KR Reykjavík at a young age, he graduated to the first team and helped them win the 1994 Icelandic Cup. In 1995, he moved to the United States for a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science and then a master's in exercise and sports psychology at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Returning home with ÍA Akranes in 1998, the following year he joined English club Walsall FC, scoring in a 3-1 win against Oldham Athletic FC that secured promotion to the second tier.
He was loaned to Chester City FC for the first three months of 2000, before leaving Walsall for KRC Harelbeke of Belgium that November. Six months later, Eyjólfsson was back at KR, winning two league titles in as many years, and he ended his career in 2005 at ÍA. In 2002, he also began working at the Football Association of Iceland as technical director, and in that time he studied for UEFA's coaching qualifications. He earned the UEFA Pro Licence in 2007 in England, making him one of just two people from Iceland to hold the qualification at the time.
In January 2007, Eyjólfsson was appointed to the helm of the Iceland women's team, taking a particular interest in the psychological side of coaching as befitting his academic speciality. Success in UEFA Women's EURO 2009 qualifiying was immediate, with his charges beating France 1-0 that June. Although Les Bleues ultimately pipped them to first place in the group, Iceland defeated the Republic of Ireland 4-1 in the play-offs. They lost all three games in Finland, but are back again, missing out in their group in similar style to four years ago, this time behind Norway, but then defeating Ukraine.
Qualifying top scorer
Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir 11
2009: group stage
2005: qualifying play-offs
2001: did not qualify
1997: qualifying play-offs
1993: did not qualify
1987/89/91: did not enter
1984: did not qualify
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