The team of Iceland
Coach: Stefan Arnarson
Key Players: Marian Eradze (Back), Louisa Thompson (Back), Sandra Erlingsdottir (Centre Back)
Qualification for Hungary 2018: European qualification tournament – Group 4 Runners-Up
History in Tournament: 1977-1997: DNQ, 1999: 18th, 2001-2005: DNQ, 2008: 13th, 2010-2016: DNQ
Home advantage proved to be the case back in March as Iceland qualified for just their third-ever IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship with two straightforward wins, against FYR Macedonia (30:25) and Lithuania (32:18). Sandwiched in-between in Vestmannaeyjar was a tight 25:24 loss to Germany – who would win Group 4 in the European Qualification Tournament – but both teams ended up with that all-important pass to Debrecen for this July.
Head coach Stefan Arnarson was confident enough to already name his final 16 squad on May 23 and it features a mixture of home-based club players along with two who play in Europe.
Back player Marian Eradze plays in Toulon (FRA) while Solveig Stefansdottir turns out for Asene (NOR). Stjordal’s (NOR) line player Anna Helena Gardarsdottir is on standby, while goalkeeper Astros Anna Bender, who plays for Velje HK in Denmark, did not make the cut.
Eradze, who also played volleyball for Iceland, plays her club handball in the top-flight of the French league – Ligue Feminine Handball (LFH) – for Toulon Saint-Cyr Var Handball alongside experienced players including Jessy Kramer, who can boast IHF Women’s World Championship and EHF EURO silver for the Netherlands.
Fellow back player Louisa Thompson is one of Iceland’s brightest prospects. The 18-year-old scored 14 goals in those three qualification matches, including seven against Germany and the Grotta player is set to break the 100-goal mark for her country in Hungary. BV’s centre back Sandra Erlingsdottir has scored 92 goals in her 22 international appearances and should also join Thompson in the 100-club.
With just a 13th and 18th place finish in their two previous IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championships, Arnarson’s team will be looking to make their mark on the international scene after not qualifying for the 2016 IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship and the 2017 Women’s EHF EURO 19.
Group at Hungary 2018
Group B: Russia, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Chile, Slovenia, Iceland
Games at Hungary 2018
All times local
Monday 2 July: KOR-ISL (18:00)
Tuesday 3 July: ISL-SLO (20:00)
Thursday 5 July: RUS-ISL (10:00)
Friday 6 July: ISL-CHN (20:00)
Sunday 8 July: CHI-ISL (10:00)