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Date: 12/29/2018

Coach: Gudmundur Gudmundsson


Key Players: Aron Palmarsson (Centre back), Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (Left wing), Arnar Freyr Arnarsson (Line player)


Qualification for the 2019 World Championship: Winner of European qualification play-off versus Lithuania


History in Tournament: 1938-1954: DNQ, 1958: 10th, 1961: 6th, 1964: 9th, 1967: DNQ, 1970: 11th, 1974: 14th, 1978: 13th, 1982: DNQ, 1986: 6th, 1990: 10th, 1993: 8th, 1995: 14th, 1997: 5th, 1999: DNQ, 2001: 11th, 2003: 7th, 2005: 15th, 2007: 8th, 2009: DNQ, 2011: 6th, 2013: 12th, 2015: 11th, 2017: 14th


Few people out of the 340,000 inhabitants of Iceland can say they know as much about handball as Gudmundur Gudmundsson. Born in the capital city Reykjavik 57 years ago, Gudmundsson played 230 international matches with the Iceland jersey and scored 356 goals. Earlier this year, he signed a three-year contract to become the coach of the men’s national team for the third time in his career.


His two previous periods as Iceland coach were from 2001-2004 and 2008-2012 and included a historic silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and a EURO bronze medal in Austria in 2010. In the six years he was away from home, he worked in Germany, Denmark and Bahrain and led the Danes to claim gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics.


Iceland did not perform as they expected at the 2018 EURO in Croatia. That frustrating 13th rank marked the end of Geir Sveinsson’s cycle as their head coach and a fresh start under the guidance of Gudmundur Gudmundsson. His first challenge was to qualify them for the 2019 World Championship.


In the Qualification Europe Phase 2 play-off, Iceland met Lithuania. The first leg was played in Vilnius, where Lithuania were able to come back after a tough first half and the result was a draw at 27:27. At home, Iceland played solidly and won 34:31 with an outstanding Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson – top scorer with 10 goals – to secure a World Championship berth.


Despite being 39 years old, Sigurdsson is still one of the most effective left wings on earth. The Rhein-Neckar Löwen player is one of the heroes of the Beijing 2008 feat – he contributed 43 goals to help his national team win the silver medal.


28-year-old Barca Lassa centre back Aron Palmarsson is one of the world’s most skilled players and accumulates a lot of experience – he has been playing EHF Champions League since 2009, when he joined THW Kiel in Germany.


In defence, Gudmundsson can rely on 22-year-old IFK Kristianstad line player Arnar Freyr Arnarsson. He will have a tough job in the 2019 World Championship preliminary round – as Iceland will face 2018 EURO gold medallists Spain, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Bahrain and Japan in a demanding Group B.


Follow the Icelandic Federation on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.


Group at Germany/Denmark2019

Group B: Spain, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Bahrain, Japan


Games at Germany/Denmark2019
All times local

Friday 11 January            Iceland vs Croatia (18:00)
Sunday 13 January          Spain vs Iceland (19:00)
Monday 14 January        Iceland vs Bahrain (15:30)
Wednesday 16 January  Japan vs Iceland (15:30)
Thursday 17 January       FYR Macedonia vs Iceland (18:00)


IHF & Germany/Denmark 2019 Official Channels

Follow the 2019 IHF Men’s Handball World Championship on our website as well as on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. And make sure you don’t miss anything on the World Championship’s official Facebook and Instagram channels.


Photo: Icelandic Handball Federation