FH pilot Iceland's European flotilla

FH Hafnarfjördur look the healthiest of Iceland's three European contenders as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup qualifying campaigns begin this week.

Heimir Gudjónsson is now FH coach after a long spell as a player with the club
Heimir Gudjónsson is now FH coach after a long spell as a player with the club ©Getty Images

'Not acceptable'
Denied a fourth successive Icelandic title last season by capital side Valur Reykjavík, FH are on top again in 2008, despite losing both of their most recent Urvalsdeild matches – 1-0 at second-placed Keflavík and, on Sunday, 2-1 at home against Fylkir. Coach Heimir Gudjónsson said: "We demand good results and losing two games is not acceptable, especially [the one] at home. If you are going to win this league, you need to win all your home games. Still, we have a UEFA Cup match on Thursday and maybe we can get back on track there."

Bated breath
Luxembourg's CS Grevenmacher are the visitors on Thursday evening as the Icelandic Cup holders look to earn a place in the second qualifying draw on 1 August. FH reached that stage of the UEFA Champions League last season after a first qualifying round victory against HB Tórshavn from the Faroe Islands, but lost out to FC BATE Borisov. The Belarussian side will look to claim another Icelandic scalp as they kick off at home against Valur on Wednesday, with the champions coming back into form after a shaky start to the season.

ÍA gloom
The same cannot be said of Iceland's final European contenders ÍA Akranes, who are in a wretched state at the halfway point in their domestic season, with just seven points – and one win – from eleven games as well as the worst scoring record in the league. A 2-0 defeat against promoted Fjölnir on Sunday has not raised spirits ahead of their trip to Finland to meet FC Honka Espoo in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, but the side that finished third in the league last season remain certain that an upturn in fortunes is just around the corner.

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