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Republic of Ireland appoint Heimir Hallgrimsson as new head coach

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Former Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson is named as the new head coach of Republic of Ireland, replacing interim boss John O’Shea.

Heimir Hallgrimsson is the surprise choice to be appointed as the new head coach of Republic of Ireland.

The Football Association of Ireland have bided their time in finding a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny, choosing to place John O’Shea in interim charge.

With a goalless draw against Belgium and a 2-1 victory over Hungary to his name, O’Shea had put himself into the mix to remain in the dugout from his four matches between March and June.

However, the decision has been made to go with Hallgrimsson, who made his name through guiding Iceland to two major tournaments against the odds.

Hallgrimsson, alongside Lars Lagerback, were at the helm when Iceland famously defeated England in the last 16 of Euro 2016, while the 57-year-old also took the Scandinavian nation to the 2018 World Cup.

His most recent work has been with Jamaica before he resigned after they lost each of their games at the ongoing Copa America to Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela.

© Reuters

“Number one candidate”

On their official website, the Football Association of Ireland say that Hallgrimsson was identified as their first-choice candidate earlier in the year.

Speaking on his appointment, Hallgrimsson said: “It is an honour to be appointed Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Men’s National Team. Ireland is rightly a proud footballing nation which has consistently produced talented players and enjoyed many memorable moments at major international tournaments.

“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.”

Republic of Ireland's Matt Doherty celebrates scoring their third goal with Shane Duffy on October 16, 2023© Reuters

What now for Republic of Ireland?

Hallgrimsson will find himself in the deep end in his first two matches, both of which take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

His opening fixture comes at home to England – of all teams – in the UEFA Nations League on September 7, followed by a meeting with Greece three days later.

Finland also feature in what is a competitive group, the aim being to retain the Boys In Greens’ status in the second tier of that competition.

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