Iceland are one of those teams always capable of surprising, whether that means reaching the final rounds or exiting competitions earlier than expected. Their recent EHF EURO campaigns have been a disappointment, as they left Poland after the preliminary round in 2016. The best result for Iceland at the EHF EURO was bronze won in Austria in 2010, which they followed with a 10th-place finish in 2012 and fifth in 2014.
The EURO bronze is one of two medals won by Iceland – the other being the silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Iceland ranked 14th at the most recent Men’s World Championship, in France in January 2017, and did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The team are led by former national team player Geir Sveinsson as head coach. The 53-year-old stepped into the role in 2016, guiding the squad through a tough EURO qualification campaign that saw them book the place in Croatia as the best third-ranked side overall.
The star of the Icelandic team for the last few years has been Aron Palmarsson. The 27-year-old centre back leads Iceland’s attack with great vision for the game and a strong shot from outside the defence. Palmarsson played a significant role when Iceland won the bronze medal at the EHF EURO 2010 – so far his biggest achievement with the national team.
Palmarsson played for FH Hafnarfjördur in Iceland before joining VELUX EHF Champions League side THW Kiel at the age of 19, for the 2009/10 season. After claiming two Champions League titles with Kiel, in 2010 and 2012, he moved to Telekom Veszprém in 2015. With the Hungarian club he reached the FINAL4 twice.
Early in the 2017/18 season, Palmarsson was one of the most talked about transfers as he joined record Champions League winners FC Barcelona Lassa.
GUDJON VALUR SIGURDSSON
38-year-old Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson has long been one of Iceland’s biggest attacking weapons, scoring more than 1,700 goals for the national team in 18 years wearing the jersey. The left wing remains one of the best on fast breaks and is always a reliable goal scorer.
Sigurdsson plays his regular season with German side Rhein-Neckar Löwen, who are current Bundesliga champions. Previously, he has taken the court for FC Barcelona, THW Kiel, Kobenhavn, Gummersbach and Essen.
He won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and bronze at the EHF EURO 2010.
Five-time Icelandic handballer of the year Geir Sveinsson became coach of the national team in April 2016. As a player, Sveinsson was a great leader at both ends of the court and captain of Iceland for eight years, from 1991 to 1999, reaching 340 caps.
Sveinsson began coaching at his boyhood club Valur, then worked with Grótta before leaving for glory abroad as so many Icelandic coaches have done in recent years. His coaching career continued at Bregenz in Austria (2012-2014) and Magdeburg in Germany (2014-2016), before he took the national team role.
Sveinsson has started shaping a new national squad, introducing young players from promising Icelandic youth sides as he builds the team around strong defence and smart attacking play.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events