Iceland scored at a rate of every 23 minutes in their six qualifying wins which earned the nation's first UEFA semi-final place at any level.

Iceland were prolific in qualifying for the final tournament
Iceland were prolific in qualifying for the final tournament ©Mariusz Fułat

Iceland have never reached the last four of a UEFA competition at any level but Thorlákur Árnason's team broke that duck in incredible style. They won all six of their UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship qualifying matches, scoring scoring 37 goals in defeating the likes of Italy, England and Sweden. Captain Aldís Kara Lúdvíksdóttir scored 11, a record for Women's U17 qualifying, while Gudmunda Brynja Óladóttir managed nine.

Experienced coach Árnason told "One advantage is that there are many strong leaders in the squad. The key players were born 1994 but are already playing in the top division and therefore have good experience."

First qualifying round: Lithuania 14-0, Bulgaria 10-0, Italy 5-1 (Group 5 winners)

Second qualifying round: England 2-0, Poland 2-0, Sweden 4-1 (Group 1 winners)

Key players: Anna María Baldursdóttir (defender, Stjarnan), Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir (midfielder, HK Kópavogur), Lára Kristín Pedersen (midfielder, Afturelding), Írunn Thorbjörg Aradóttir (midfielder, Stjarnan), Aldís Kara Lúdvíksdóttir (forward, FH Hafnarfjördur), Gudmunda Brynja Óladóttir (forward, Selfoss).

Coach: Thorlákur Árnason

Date of birth: 13 September 1969
Nationality: Icelandic
Playing career: KR Reykjavík, IF Leiftur Ólafsfjördur, Grindavík.
Coaching career: IF Leiftur Ólafsfjördur (youth), Valur Reykjavík (youth), ÍA Akranes (youth), Valur Reykjavík, Fylkir, Stjarnan (youth), Iceland Women's U17, Stjarnan (women)

A striker, Árnason was top goalscorer in the Icelandic third tier in Leiftur's championship-winning 1991 season but retired due to injury three years later. He turned to coaching and qualified as a PE instructor at the University of Iceland in 1995 and gained experience at clubs including Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, Valencia CF, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Feyenoord.

His coaching career has proved fruitful, mostly at youth level, where his clubs have won seven league titles ands three Icelandic Cups. He was voted Iceland's coach of the year in 1997 and 2008, and has brought through several top players. He has also coached at senior level, notably leading Valur to promotion as second-tier champions in 2002. More recently he moved into female coaching, not only at Stjarnan last year, but also with Iceland in 2009, leading them to their first UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship this season.

UEFA qualified, Árnason works part time for the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) as a coach instructor. He has also written two childrens' books and a crime novel, while his two 16-year-old sons are also good footballers, one in the Iceland U17 team.

Team records

Qualifying top scorer
Aldís Kara Lúdvíksdóttir

UEFA European Women's U17 Championship best
First qualification