2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – News – Hamren takes charge at Iceland, Gareca signs extension with Peru
Former Sweden head coach Erik Hamren has been revealed as the new Iceland manager. The Football Association of Iceland formally introduced the 61-year-old at a press conference on Wednesday.
With a population of just 335,000, Iceland became the smallest nation to reach the FIFA World Cup™ when they qualified for Russia 2018. They earned a credible draw in their global finals opener against Lionel Messi’s Argentina before bowing out at the group stage after losses to Nigeria and eventual finalists Croatia.
After Iceland’s qualification for UEFA EURO 2016, and later Russia 2018, Hamren has announced his intent to keep the nation’s momentum of advancing to major tournaments going.
“I’m coming into a new country and new team,” said Hamren. “It’s important that I won’t change everything. We have to hold on to the things that have worked well in the past. My aim is to take Iceland to their third major finals in a row. I believe we can do it.”
Hamren was previously in charge of the Swedish national team for seven years. He oversaw Blagult at back-to-back European Championships in 2012 and 2016.
Gareca signs Peru extension
While Iceland revealed their new head coach, fellow Russia 2018 side Peru announced that they reached an agreement with coach Ricardo Gareca for a contract extension that will see him remain in charge through the qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022.
The Argentinian led Peru to their first World Cup finals since 1982 and has been entrusted to build on that success through the next World Cup cycle.
“What we like is essentially the confidence of the Peruvian player, and we are betting on their potential,” Gareca said at an official press conference in Lima. “We are grateful for the demonstration of support from everyone. We have nothing but words of thanks.
“We have many important challenges in Peru. Perhaps this is a more complicated stage than the previous one. We have to prepare friendly matches. That will have me busy. The task is not finished.”
Peru were eliminated after the group stage at Russia 2018, picking up a 2-0 win over Australia after suffering narrow 1-0 defeats to Denmark and eventual champions France.
“Over the years, we have been finding solutions,” Gareca continued. “We believe that great figures will continue to emerge and we will find qualified players for the positions we need.”