Five Things To Know: Iceland

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The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Iceland on Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the final match of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa as the action moves to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The USA enters the match needing a victory to win the tournament title. Iceland – ranked No. 16 in the world -- currently sits atop the tournament standings with six points and needs a tie or a win to lift the trophy. The USA, which is on four points, will be playing to win the SheBelieves Cup for a third consecutive year. The match will be broadcast at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and PrendeTV. 

Get ready for Wednesday’s tournament finale with Five Things to Know about Iceland.


Making its SheBelieves Cup debut, Iceland wasted no time making its mark in the tournament, scoring in the first minute of their opening match against New Zealand on Feb. 17. Former Florida State and Portland Thorns FC standout Dagný Brynjarsdóttir tallied just 48 seconds into the match, setting a record for the fastest goal ever scored at the SheBelieves Cup. Iceland outshot New Zealand, 12-7, on the day as they came away with the 1-0 victory.

The second match day pitted Iceland against European foe Czech Republic. Iceland got off to a fast start, scoring in the 11th and 18th minutes behind goals from Natasha Anasi and Selma Sól Magnúsdóttir, respectively, to carry a 2-0 lead into halftime. 

Iceland had two great chances back-to-back around the 83rd minute that drew brilliant saves from Czech Republic goalkeeper Alexandra Vanickova to keep the game close.
The Czechs finally pulled a goal back in the 86th minute with a goal from Michaela Khyrova, but Iceland was able to hold on to the final whistle to secure the three points against its UEFA foe. With the win, Iceland has now won its last six matches across all competitions, its last defeat coming in 2-0 loss to the Netherlands on September 21, 2021.


Iceland’s roster for the SheBelieves Cup features quite a bit of experience at both the club and international levels. Defender Hallbera Guðný Gísladóttir is the most-capped player on this roster with 124 international appearances. Two other players on this roster – Brynjarsdóttir and defender Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir – are on 98 caps. 

With 33 goals in 98 appearances, Brynjarsdóttir is the leading scorer on this roster and is among the all-time leading scorers in Iceland Women’s National Team history. Midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir, who plays for the Orlando Pride in NWSL, is second on this roster in scoring with 12 international goals. 

Jónsdóttir, who previously played with the USA’s Becky Sauerbrunn for the Utah Royals in NWSL, is one of 15 players on this roster who plays their club soccer outside of Iceland. Five players play in Germany, including three players - Viggósdóttir, Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir and Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir – who compete for reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, four in Norway, four in Sweden, one in England and one in the USA. 


GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Sandra Sigurðardóttir (Valur), 12-Telma Ívarsdóttir (Breidablik), 13-Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER)    
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Sif Atladóttir (Selfoss), 3-Elísa Viðarsdóttir (Valur), 4-Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER), 6-Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir (Valerenga, NOR), 11-Hallbera Guðný Gísladóttir (Kalmar, SWE), 18-Guðrún Arnardóttir (Rosengard, SWE), 19-Natasha Moraa Anasi (Breidablik), 20-Ásta Eir Árnadóttir (Breidablik) 
MIDFIELDERS (8):  5-Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir (Orlando Pride, USA), 7-Karitas Tómasdóttir (Breidablik), 8-Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER), 10-Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (West Ham, ENG), 14-Selma Sól Magnúsdóttir (Rosenborg, NOR), 15-Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir (Frankfurt, GER), 16-Amanda Andradóttir (Kristianstad, SWE), 17-Agla María Albersdóttir (BK Hacken, SWE), 22-Ída María Hermannsdóttir (Valur)
FORWARDS (3): 9-Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir (Brann, NOR), 21-Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir (Brann, NOR), 23-Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir (Wolfsburg, GER) 


The matchup in Frisco will be the 15th meeting all-time between the USA and Iceland, but the first since 2015 when the teams played to a 0-0 draw at the Algarve Cup. The USWNT leads the all-time series 12-0-2, with its only other non-win against Iceland coming in a 0-0 draw in April of 2000. 

The last five meetings between the teams all took place at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, with the USA going 4-0-1 over those last five meetings and outscoring Iceland by an overall margin of 10-2. Three players on this current USA roster – Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Morgan Gautrat (formerly Brian) saw action in the 2015 match.

Wednesday’s game will be the first between the teams in the USA since 2006 when the USWNT beat Iceland, 2-1, in a friendly played at the University of Richmond. 


Following the conclusion of the SheBelieves Cup, a busy slate of matches awaits Iceland with UEFA’s World Cup Qualifying resuming during the April FIFA window. Iceland is battling to qualify for its first ever Women’s World Cup. Iceland currently sits second in Group C with nine points, with three wins and one loss from four matches. The Netherlands leads the group with 11 points from three wins and two draws from five matches. The second-place teams in each qualifying group will make the playoffs with a chance to book a ticket for the World Cup. The Czech Republic is nipping at Iceland’s heels with one win, two draws and one loss for five points from four matches.

This summer, Iceland will be playing in the UEFA Women’s Euros for the fourth time and fourth in a row. Iceland advanced to the quarterfinals in 2013 where it lost to host Sweden, 4-0, but failed to get out of the group in 2009 in Finland and 2017 in the Netherlands. Iceland will play in Group D this summer in England where it was drawn with France, Italy and Belgium. Group D action will kick off on July 10, when Iceland plays its first match against Belgium in Manchester. 


Contrary to most other places in the world, Iceland is not very focused on "surnames" and EVERYBODY is on a first name basis. This is because there are hardly any "family names" in Iceland. Then how do you recognize each other and who belongs to whom, you ask? Well, it's simple really. The Icelandic people are descendants from the Vikings and they kept track of people by recognizing who their father was, as in "Helgi son of Ólafur the Brave, son of Leifur the Large" (not an actual example). Thus, was born the tradition of naming children after their father's first name. So, the way it works in Iceland is that boys are generally given first names and then their father's first name + "son" as a "surname." Girls on the other hand are generally given first names and then their father's first name + "dóttir" (as in "daughter") as a "surname." 

A hypothetical example:
Father = Ragnar Helgason
Mother = Inga Bjarnadóttir
Their son = Leifur Ragnarsson
Their daughter = Anna Ragnarsdóttir

Or, if Kelley O’Hara, whose dad’s name is Dan, was Icelandic, her name would be Kelley Dansdottir.

Most Icelanders can trace back their family-line to around the 13th century -- Iceland was first settled in the 9th century.