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Thórsson thrilled to pioneer Icelandic futsal

Willum Thór Thórsson, one of the most successful coaches in Icelandic football, has taken charge of their new national futsal team and told UEFA.com about his joy at the appointment.

Willum Thór Thórsson and his Icelandic champion club Keflavík
Willum Thór Thórsson and his Icelandic champion club Keflavík ©Keflavík

"Futsal is an enjoyable sport and I am very excited about this job," Willum Thór Thórsson told UEFA.com after his appointment as Iceland's first national coach.

The 37-year-old has taken charge as Iceland prepare to make their UEFA European Futsal Championship debut as hosts of preliminary round Group B against Greece, Armenia and Latvia in late January. Thórsson has proved himself at club level, leading Valur Reykjavík to the 2008 futsal title and repeating the trick this year with his present employers Keflavík, who then performed admirably in the UEFA Futsal Cup. That matches his football management prowess, where he has uniquely won all four Icelandic divisions including the top flight with KR Reykjavík and Valur. He combines his futsal and football roles at Keflavík, with the squad doubling up in the long winter.

"There are lots of positive points in introducing futsal to Icelandic football," Thórsson said. "We have a long close season lasting from September to May and during that long time it is great to bring something exciting in. We are working on speed and technique, coordination and teamwork during the winter which tallies with futsal. I say if we cannot play the game on a smaller pitch and work, for instance, to improve in defence, it is probably difficult for us to play on a regular football pitch."

Small-sided football is already established in Iceland and there is plenty of interest in futsal. "This could be great for younger players coming into the top level and also great for older experienced players coming closer to the end of their career instead of retiring," Thórsson said. " I know many are interested and when I asked my players who wanted to play in the UEFA competition in August, they all wanted to be in. We have only played futsal for four years and it is different with the surface and a different ball, but I am sure we will develop a proper technique and I think there will be teams specialising in futsal."

Iceland must win their preliminary round group to move into the main qualifiers, where they would face Italy, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in February. "The first thought in my mind was to win our group but I realise now that may be little bit too high of a goal to set," the coach said. "The Icelandic indoor football tournament is about to begin and I will watch the players closely, then pick a squad and begin to prepare. We are working on getting some friendlies against teams in a similar situation to us."