Lagerback happy to hand over the Iceland reins


Outgoing joint-manager Lars Lagerback says he has enjoyed a ‘fantastic journey’ with Iceland but that now is the time for Heimir Hallgrimsson to go it alone.

The Swede had announced in May that his involvement with the Iceland set-up would end when they made their Euro 2016 exit. Despite surpassing almost all expectation by reaching the last-eight of the European Championships at their first attempt, Lagerback confirmed in the wake of the 5-2 defeat to hosts France that he intends to move on.

The former Sweden boss has not entirely ruled out a new post but he says a return to full-time management is unlikely. Lagerback says now is the time for his co-boss to step up and show that he is ready to take Icelandic football forward on the back of their success in France.

“I may come back to coaching in some capacity, but now it’s Heimir’s turn to test his abilities and fly with the national team. These four-and-a-half years have been a fantastic journey for me,” he said.

“With all the fans coming here and what we heard from back home, and all the positivity and interest – I feel it deep in my heart. I’ve enjoyed every minute, except maybe the first 45 minutes [against France].”

Iceland shipped four first half goals in their defeat to Les Bleus in Paris before stabilising the ship after half time to put some respectability on the scoresheet. Lagerback felt they simply did not perform in the first half, perhaps overawed by the occasion and the reputation of their opposition.

The final 45 minutes of his reign were proof, he felt, that Iceland could compete physically with anyone. “We didn’t handle it well mentally, but in the second half we showed it wasn’t a physical problem.

These are the games you have to learn from and we need to learn from this. This was a good reminder that you have to have the right attitude every second,” he added.

“If you look at the whole tournament, to reach the quarter-finals as a newcomer is absolutely fantastic.” France are now 2.75 to win Euro 2016 ahead of a semi-final clash with Germany.