Russia-bound Iceland will aim to qualify for 2022 World Cup in Qatar: Bergsson

 08 Nov 2017 - 11:22

Russia-bound Iceland will aim to qualify for 2022 World Cup in Qatar: Bergsson
The President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani hands over a memento to President of the Football Association of Iceland, Gudni Bergsson in Doha yesterday.

By Armstrong Vas | The Peninsula

Iceland which capped its incredible 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign by securing a berth in Russia aim to maintain the same level of consistency and make it to the finals in Qatar. 

“Iceland can hopefully participate and qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” said  Gudni Bergsson, President of the Football Association of Iceland.

Commenting on the infrastructure improvements of Qatar and preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, the President of the Football Association of Iceland said: “We had a very interesting and good presentation in the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Pavilion where I got a very good insight into the thinking and philosophy behind Qatar’s bid and behind the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. 

“It’s interesting to witness how Qatar is trying to make sure that this significant tournament will benefit the country and the region, not just during the World Cup but after the World Cup as well. It was positive experience and a very informative presentation so I now know a lot about the 2022 World Cup.”

The Football Association of Iceland President is in Doha as Iceland and Qatar national teams are set to play a friendly match on November 14 at 7:30pm in Al Duhail Stadium. 

Bergsson met the President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani  yesterday at the QFA’s headquarters in Al Bidda Tower.

QFA Vice President Saoud Al Mohannadi, QFA General Secretary Mansoor Al Ansari, Executive Director of the QFA President office Ali Dawood, QFA Executive Director of Strategy and Institutional Development Mushtaq Al Waeli, QFA Director of Operations of National Teams Department Ahmed Abbassi, Iceland FA Board Members Rikhardur Dadason and Magnus Gylfasson attended the meeting. 

During the meeting they discussed the bilateral relations concerning football in the two countries. They also discussed matters of mutual interest and the importance of developing them in the coming period in Qatar and Iceland and ways to enhance the cooperation between the two associations.

At the end of the meeting, both Presidents stressed on the importance of building on the relationship between the two associations and developing them further in the future. Iceland FA President also praised the role played by the QFA President which directly impacts football in a positive way. 

 Iceland became the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup by securing an automatic berth by defeating Kosovo 2-0 in Reykjavik to win Group I and kick-start celebrations in the island nation of about 330,000 people.

When asked about how a small nation such as Iceland qualified for the upcoming World Cup, shown a tremendous performance during the Euro 2016, and managed to show the world that Iceland has a great football team, he said: “It all started with our development of players at the grassroots level. We have got a lot of clubs in Iceland, a good participation, and a healthy number of registered players.”

Youth development is the key he said.

“They start at an early age of six years old where they get good coaching, education and good facilities. We try to work with the limited number of players that we have given the small population and then those players and kids have got the ambition to want to better themselves and play professionally abroad in Europe. We have 70 players playing in Europe professionally, so all that gives us the possibility of having a good national team.” 

When asked about the possibility of exchanging experience between the Iceland FA and QFA, and the possibility of signing an MoU in the future he said: “I think within the football world, and seeing that Iceland and Qatar both have a small population, we should be exchanging our knowledge and experiences and try to help each other to strengthen the game of football.”

“We are happy to share our experience and knowledge with Qatar. From what I see and what I hear, Qatar is working really well with their limited pool of players, they have got a good academy (Aspire Academy), the league is strong and the national team is developing, which means we can certainly learn from each other. We will discuss it further in the future and I can see certain key areas we can cooperate in and exchanges going ahead between the two associations.”