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Iceland

They said "good-bye" to the "greatest ever" in their last qualification match against Romania and now the Icelandic team definitely has to find a replacement for the legendary Olafur Stefansson, the most successful Icelandic sportsman of all time.

Stefansson's successor is already on the way to becoming a world star: 22-year-old Aron Palmarsson, who was awarded best centre back at the 2013 World Championship and has already won two VELUX EHF Champions League trophies with THW Kiel. Together with his club teammate Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson, Palmarsson is already the leader of the Icelandic pack.

After Gudmundur Gudmudsson resigned from his post as national team coach in the wake of their unlucky elimination in the Olympic quarter-final against Hungary in London, Aron Kristjansson took over the responsibility. Alongside the two THW Kiel stars, key players in the team are right back Alexander Petterson, goalkeeper Björgvin Gustavsson and line player Robert Gunnarsson.

Upcoming Matches

Team Roster

Gunnarsson,Arnor Tor
01.01.1 00:00
Edvardsson,Aron Rafn
01.01.1 00:00
Hallgrimsson,Asgeir Örn
01.01.1 00:00
Gunnarsson,Bjarki Mar
01.01.1 00:00
Gustavsson,Björgvin Pall
01.01.1 00:00
Sigurdsson,Gudjon Valur
08.08.1979 00:00
Jonsson,Gunnar Steinn
04.05.1987 00:00
Kristjansson,Kari Kristjan
01.01.1 00:00
Gudmundsson,Olafur Andres
13.05.1990 00:00
Gunnarsson,Robert
01.01.1 00:00
Karason,Runar
01.01.1 00:00
Gudjonsson,Snorri Steinn
17.10.1981 00:00
Sigurmannsson,Stefan Rafn
19.05.1990 00:00
Jakobsson,Sverre Andreas
01.01.1 00:00
Olafsson,Thorir
01.01.1 00:00
Svavarsson,Vignir
20.06.1980 00:00

Key Players

Aron Palmarsson

23-year-old Aron Pálmarsson is Iceland's centre back. His great talent for the game was discovered early in his life when he played for FH in the town of Hafnarfirði near Reykjavik, which many regard as the cradle of Icelandic handball.

At 18 Palmarsson made his debut for the national team. He then became part of the squad that won bronze at the EHF EURO 2010 in Austria. In the 2009/10 season he joined German powerhouse THW Kiel for which he has been playing ever since, winning the EHF Champions League in 2010 and 2012.

Subsequently his the role and responsibility within the national team increased and he became one the leading players at the World Championship 2011 as well as at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia. The EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark will be his third consecutive appearance at an EHF EURO event.

The tournaments in Austria and Serbia combined, he scored 41 goals in 14 matches. Palmarsson was voted 2012 Athlete of Year by the Icelandic Sports Journalists' Association.

 

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson

Left wing Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (34) is Iceland's team captain and has been one of the key players for more than a decade. Going into his eighth European Championship, he played his first EHF EURO match at the 2000 final tournament in Croatia at which Iceland finished 11th.

Iceland took to the court at European Championships a combined 43 times and Sigurdsson has played in 41 of these matches - a figure that no other Icelandic player reaches. In these 41 matches he scored 195 goals, making him Iceland's EHF EURO top scorer.

He is the team's most experienced player with overall 286 internationals (as of December 2013) and 1,483 goals. Only Olafur Stefansson has scored more total goals for the Icelandic national team.

Sigurdsson began his career with Grotta in Seltjarnarnes, close to Reykjavík. Later he played for KA in Akureyri before he went to Germany in 2001. Since then he has played for Tusem Essen, VfL Gummersbach, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, AG Kobenhavn. In 2012 he joined THW Kiel.

He was voted Athlete of the Year in 2006 in Iceland, the same year he became the German Bundesliga top scorer. With Iceland he won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games and bronze at the EH F EURO 2010.

 

Alexander Petersson

Alexander Petersson, who usually plays on the right wing position in the national team, was already part of the Icelandic team that won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and bronze at the EHF EURO 2010 in Austria.

However, he has an unusual history, as he is actually Latvian. Born in Riga, Petersson made 40 appearances for the Latvian national team, before he was nationalised in Iceland, the country of his ancestors in 2004.

He celebrated his debut for the national team in 2005.His first Icelandic club was Grotta where he played for five years. As many Icelandic players, Petersson moved to Germany. From Düsseldorf to Großwallstadt to SG Flensburg-Handewitt to Füchse Berlin - Petersson left his mark at every club. In 2012 he moved to Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

After a great performance in Beijing that earned him his first Olympic silver medal, the EHF EURO 2010 in Austria saw him ascend to the All-Star Team.

Petersson was elected Sportman of the year in Iceland 2010 in by the Iceland Association of Sports Journalists.

THE COACH - Aaron Kristjansson

Aron Kristjansson (40) took over as coach of Iceland's men's national team in September 2012, succeeding Gudmundur Gudmundsson.

He successfully led the team through the EHF EURO Qualification during which Iceland won five of their matches, confidently topping Group 6 ahead Belarus, Slovenia and Romania.

While being a player, Kristjansson played 85 internationals for Iceland as centre back. He was part of the team that reached the semi-finals at the EHF EURO 2002 in Sweden. Earlier in his career he won bronze with Iceland's under-21 team at the 1993 Men's Junior World Championship, scoring the decisive goal in the 21:20-win against Russia in the match for third place.

An injury forced him to stop playing handball in 2004 and he took over as coach at Danish club Skjern until 2007. He then moved back to his home country where started training Haukar, winning the Icelandic national championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Following a short stint with German side Hannover-Burgdorf in the 2010/11 season, he returned to Haukar, coaching them until spring 2013 and again winning the national championship on two occasions.

Since spring 2013 the EHF Master Coach's sole focus lies on the national team.

Year Event host Place/Medal
2000 Croatia 11th
2002 Sweden 4th
2004 Slovenia 13th
2006 Switzerland 7th
2008 Norway 11th
2010 Austria Bronze
2012 Serbia 10th