Iceland fire Vidarsson after poor start to Euro 2024 qualifiers

March 31 – Iceland’s FA have parted company with head coach Arnar Vidarsson (pictured) after an underwhelming start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

“We consider it necessary and correct with the interests of the team as a guide,” said the Football Association of Iceland (KSI) chairman Vanda Sigurgeirsdottir in a statement.

“Arnar has done many good things here at KSI and deserves praise for his work, which was often done in challenging situations.”

Iceland defeated European minnows Lichtenstein 7-0 in their second Euro 2024 qualifier, but that mammoth result was not enough to save Vidarsson’s job after his team had lost their opening qualifier 3-0 to Bosnia and Herzegovina, leaving the island nation in fourth spot on three points in Group J.

Vidarsson took command of Iceland in 2020, but his role became complicated when in October 2021 a scandal brought Icelandic football to its knees and tarnished the legacy of the country’s golden generation, which qualified for both Euro 2016 in France and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Iceland’s barnstorming football enchanted but a series of allegations involving sexual and physical violence, including an accusation of rape, made against some of the national team players crippled the FA and the national team.

As a result, the KSI’s entire executive committee resigned. A reset took place, but Iceland failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The KSI is eyeing a return to the big stage at Euro 2024, but Iceland will need to get a result against Slovakia at home in June to stay in the race. They also host group leaders Portugal that month.

Freyr Alexandersson, who coaches Denmark’s Lyngby, the club where current Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand started out, is among the names cited to succeed Vidarsson.

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