The man behind the success of the small nation of Iceland in the international football, Heimir Hallgrimsson, has chosen to step down as coach of the national football team on Tuesday.
51-year-old Hallgrimsson was appointed as the assistant coach to Lars Lagerback for Iceland in 2011. He was promoted to joint-manager in 2014.
Iceland has had an unanticipated rise in the footballing world. The nation had qualified to two major tournaments back to back, and this in itself is an achievement.
Hallgrimsson would be first to tell that one of the biggest achievements for the team was when they ousted England in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Euro Cup 2016 in France.
The FA of Iceland can now confirm that Heimir Hallgrímsson will not continue as head coach of the Icelandic men´s national team. Hallgrímsson steps down as Iceland coach at his own request after 7 years in the job, having joined in 2011. pic.twitter.com/4Srl1lDdkq
— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) July 17, 2018
Iceland who hadn’t even played an international tournament before that, and still managed to reach the quarter-finals stage.
To qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, Iceland faced Italy in the knockout qualifying stage. Going up against the four-time champions, The Vikings weren’t fazed and managed to win the tie.
For the aforementioned tournament, Hallgrimsson was the lone coach for the team. Once again they were treated as underdogs when it came to qualifying and successfully managed to become the smallest country to book their place at the biggest stage of them all.
The story doesn’t stop here, as Iceland faced Argentina in their debut match. The team matched up well with the former champions and earned even more plaudits for their doggedness.
This decision to step down must have some other factors. But, that’s not the story we need to indulge into and applaud the effort of Heimir Hallgrimsson for what he has done with Iceland.