HomeFootballFAI make shock manager appointment as Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrímsson is unveiled as...

FAI make shock manager appointment as Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrímsson is unveiled as new Ireland boss

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After a prolonged, much-criticized search which saw the FAI miss two deadlines of February and April, the association has this afternoon confirmed that the Iceland native is their new man.

The 57-year-old, who is also a qualified dentist, enjoyed a long playing career in his native country before moving into men’s management in 2002.

After becoming co-manager of Iceland in 2013 alongside Lars Lagerback, Iceland famously reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 after a historic last-16 win over England.

Hallgrímsson then took sole charge of the team and led Iceland to their first-ever World Cup appearance in 2018.

Most recently he has been in charge of the Jamaican national team, as he handed in his resignation last week in the middle of their World Cup-qualifying campaign in order to take the Irish job.

He won 10, lost 10 and drew seven during his time with Jamaica, with three of those defeats coming in this summer’s Copa America campaign, where the team finished last in their group. Before that he had a three-year spell in charge of Qatari club Al-Arabi.

Former Ireland defender John O’Shea took interim charge for the March and June windows and last month called for Abbotstown to provide clarity on their search for Stephen Kenny’s successor, following their friendly defeat away to Portugal.

Hallgrímsson’s first game in charge of the Boys in Green will come in September at home to England, in the opening game of the Nations League campaign, with Finland visiting Lansdowne Road three days later.

In a statement this afternoon, the FAI said that Hallgrímsson was their “number one candidate” earlier this year and that his experience in management aligned perfectly with their search criteria.

“It is an honour to be appointed Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Men’s National Team,” said Hallgrímsson upon the announcement.

“Ireland is rightly a proud footballing nation which has consistently produced talented players and enjoyed many memorable moments at major international tournaments.

“We have a young and exciting team that has genuine potential. I am looking forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performances and results ensuring we qualify and compete at major tournaments on a regular basis.”

“We are thrilled to announce Heimir as our new Head Coach,” said FAI director of football Marc Canham, who has headed the eight-month search.

“Earlier this year, we identified Heimir as our number one candidate whose capabilities and experience aligned with our criteria. Not only does Heimir have significant experience at international level with two different countries, but crucially he also has a track record of qualifying for major international tournaments and taking teams up the FIFA World rankings.”

Labelling the Iceland native as the “outstanding candidate”, FAI Interim CEO David Courell added: “There has been huge interest in this appointment which ultimately is testament to how much people care about Irish football.

“We are delighted to have secured a Head Coach with the experience we were seeking but more importantly one that shares our vision for Irish Football.”

Hallgrímsson will be unveiled at a press conference at Lansdowne Road tomorrow.

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