Iceland coach Lars Lagerbäck has agreed a two-year contract extension which will see him lead the North Atlantic nation through the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign before his assistant Heimir Hallgrimsson takes over the reins.
Swede Lagerbäck, who has managed the Icelandic national team since October 2011, guided them to the brink of the 2014 Brazil World Cup after finishing second in their qualifying group only to lose out to Croatia in a two-legged play off by an aggregate score of 2-0 last month.
Following Iceland’s most successful qualifying campaign of all time, however, legendary forward Eiður Guðjohnsen announced his retirement from international football. But news that Lagerback will stay on for the 2016 qualifiers will come as a boost to the Football Association of Iceland (KSI), who will be acutely aware that continuity could be the team’s greatest chance of building on the success of the past two years.
Upon announcing the news, Lagerbäck said he expects to stand down after the new two-year deal, but that he’d like to do so after making it to the European Championships in France in 2016. He pointed out, however, that he expects a tough group as Iceland are likely to be placed in the fifth seeding pot.
Meanwhile, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who has agreed in principle to take over when Lagerbäck’s contract expires, said it’s good to have a four-year plan in place and a solid foundation to build on.
KSI president Geir Þórsteinsson said Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrimson have the full backing of of the Icelandic public, supporters and players and, for the KSI board, a decision has never been easier.