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26.12.2013, 15:03
Iceland go to Denmark without Alexander Petersson
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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN: The key player misses the final tournament due to an injury. Head coach Kristjansson to announce squad after friendly tournament in Germany at the beginning of January
 

Iceland go to Denmark without Alexander Petersson

Iceland are facing tough opponents in Group B, playing against Norway, Spain and Hungary.

The Icelandic team count on their key players, Aron Palmarsson (pictured below) and team captain Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (both playing for THW Kiel).

Sigurdsson was magnificent in the qualification, scoring 62 goals, 12 more than Sergei Rutenka of Belarus.

Both Sigurdsson and Palmarsson played well in the World Championship 2013 in Spain and Palmarsson was one of the star players of the 2012 London 2012 Olympic Games.

Sigurdsson will be competing at his eighth European Championship in a row. His first appearance dates back to the 2000 tournament in Croatia.

The worst news for Iceland is that Alexander Petersson (Rhein-Neckar Löwen) will not be available and miss the EHF EURO 2014 due to a long-time shoulder injury.

Petersson also missed the World Championship in Spain because of the same injury and only played the group matches at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.

The hope reigns that the Icelandic team will rally around Petersson's absence, but he is arguably one of the team's key players, vital for its defence and as a goalscorer.

It seems most likely that Runar Karason (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf) will take his place in the squad, but Asgeir Hallgrimsson (Paris Handball) will probably be head coach Aron Kristjansson's first choice for the right back position.

More troubles and a possible line-up

And Iceland are troubled by some more injury worries.

Ingimundur Ingimundarson (ÍR) played big role together with Sverre Jakobsson (Grosswallstadt) in the defence when Iceland won silver at the 2008 Olympics and bronze at the EHF EURO 2010.

However, Ingimundarson is injured and will not attend the tournament in Denmark.

Vignir Svavarsson (Minden) who has also played in the centre of the Icelandic defense is still recovering from a knee injury. He could make the final though squad. Another option for the defence could be the 2,01-metre tall line player Bjarki Mar Gunnarsson.

A possible starting line-up for the Icelandic team (when in attack) could be Bjorgvin Pall Gustavsson (Bergischer HC) as goalkepper. Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson as left wing, Aron Palmarsson as left back, Snorri Steinn Gudjonsson (GOG) as playmaker, Asgeir Orn Hallgrimsson as right back, Thorir Olafsson (Vive Targi Kielce) or Arnor Gunnarsson.

Arnor Atlason (St. Raphael) is also important player for the team. He is facing injuries at the moment, but could be ready for the tournament.

Special tournament for head coach Kristjansson

This will be the second major tournament for the national team coach Aron Kristjansson. He is a former coach of the Danish team Skjern, and also used to play for the club, so he will be excited about the tournament taking place in Denmark.

Iceland have reached the main round at the past four European Championships, so the Icelandic nation count on Kristjansson to get the team at least to main round again.

There Iceland could face Austria which would be pretty special because the national team coach of Austria is Patrekur Johannesson, a former Icelandic national team player.

At the EHF EURO 2010 when Iceland won bronze medal, Iceland played in the group stage against Austria then trained by another former Icelandic national team player, Dagur Sigurdsson.

Iceland will play against Germany, Austria and Russia in a friendly tournament the first weekend of January, and after these matches Aron Kristjansson will announce his final squad for 2014 European Championship in Denmark.


TEXT: Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson / ts
 
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