Heimir Hallgrímsson. Photo: FAI.

Major surprise as former Iceland boss takes over Ireland

The FAI's manager recruitment saga is finally over after eight months, with the appointment of Heimir Hallgrímsson as the new head coach of the Ireland senior men’s national team.

The former head coach of Iceland and Jamaica will lead the team for the UEFA Nations League and FIFA World Cup 2026 campaigns. Hallgrímsson will assume charge of his first competitive fixture this September as Ireland face England in the UEFA Nations League.

The new head coach will be formally unveiled at an official press conference tomorrow, Thursday, July 11, at the Aviva Stadium.

A statement from the FAI said Hallgrímsson was identified as the number one candidate earlier this year with his experience aligning perfectly with the association’s search criteria. These criteria included, among other factors, previous international head coach experience, an ability to move international teams up the FIFA world rankings, a track record of qualifying and competing at major tournaments and experience in the development and progression of young players.

Heimir’s international experience started with Iceland where he was first assistant manager to Lars Lagerback from 2011 to 2013, joint head coach alongside Lagerback until 2016, and then sole head coach from 2016 to 2018.

His time at the helm of the Iceland national team coincided with one of their most successful periods famously reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, eliminating England in the last 16. In this time Iceland also qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and reached a qualification play-off for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Over the course of his time with Iceland, the team reached its highest ever FIFA ranking of 18th.

Most recently, Hallgrímsson was the head coach of Jamaica (2022 to 2024), where he led the team to qualification for this summer’s Conmebol Copa America 2024.

Hallgrímsson resigned from his role as head coach of Jamaica following the conclusion of their Copa America 2024 campaign at the start of this month.

Commenting on his appointment with Ireland, Heimir Hallgrímsson said it was “an honour” to be chosen for the role.

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

"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.

“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,” he added.