Mastermind behind England's embarrassing Euro 2016 exit to Iceland lands exciting new job

Iceland famously knocked England out of Euro 2016
-Credit: (Image: Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Heimir Hallgrimsson has taken the reins as the new head coach of the Republic of Ireland, stepping in after John O'Shea's interim tenure post-Stephen Kenny's exit due to a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying run. Hallgrimsson has managed both Iceland and Jamaica on the international stage.

He shared the helm with Lars Lagerback for Iceland, starting in 2013, which included their stunning Euro 2016 victory against England. He then took sole charge until 2018, leading them to their inaugural World Cup appearance. After a period at Al-Arabi in Qatar, he took over Jamaica's national team in 2022 but stepped down after their Copa America campaign ended early this month.

Upon his appointment, Hallgrimsson expressed his pride, saying: “It is an honour to be appointed head coach of the Ireland Senior Men’s National Team.

“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 have important and exciting games coming up in the UEFA Nations League later this year and a massive FIFA World Cup qualification campaign coming up next year.

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“Finally, I am also looking forward to getting to know the people of Ireland and in particular the wonderful fans of Irish football.

“It is my responsibility to coach, prepare and develop our team as best as possible to deliver results on the pitch and to make our supporters happy and proud.”

Hallgrimsson is set to take the reins for his first competitive game when the Boys in Green clash with England in the Nations League on September 7. They will then be squaring off against Greece just a few days later on September 10.

His appointment follows seven months after Kenny's exit, however, FAI's director of football, Marc Canham, assures that Hallgrimsson was their foremost choice for the job.

Heimir Hallgrimsson previously coached Jamaica
Heimir Hallgrimsson previously coached Jamaica -Credit:Candice Ward/Getty Images

“We are thrilled to announce Heimir as our new head coach. Earlier this year, we identified Heimir as our number one candidate whose capabilities and experience aligned with our criteria,” Canham said.

“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.

“It was also important for us that we recruited a head coach who is interested in the overall development of football in Ireland as outlined in the FAI’s football pathways plan and in particular someone who is interested in the development of our underage international teams, both of which Heimir is hugely passionate about.”

Upon taking over as interim manager in February, O'Shea managed one win, a draw, and two losses in friendlies this year, to which Canham recognised the former Manchester United and Ireland defender's input.

Canham further stated: “I also want to thank and pay tribute to John O'Shea and his staff who have guided the team through recent friendly internationals preparing the team impeccably, creating a brilliant environment for the players and achieving positive results on the pitch.”