World Championship2018

What do Iceland’s national football team have in common with Iraq?

Today the Icelandic team will meet on the field with the players of the Nigerian national team.

Frankly, for the Icelanders, I am sick with a special frenzy. And this is not tricky. Northerners, along with Mexicans and Croats, can be called true fans of the fans of the 2018 World Cup. What is the only Russian “Kalinka” performed by the islanders . But few people know that our countries have come together in the field of football 45 years ago.

It was then, in 1973, the Soviet specialist Yuri Il’ichev went to train Icelandic players. Prior to that, he worked as a head coach for several years with the teams of Iraq.

Yuri Petrovich Il’ichev was born in 1927. He played football in the Moscow “Locomotive”. After the injury, he began coaching.

In 1969, on the distribution of the State Committee for Sports, he went to Iraq, where he worked with the national team of this country. Under his leadership, the national youth team defeated the GDR players 3-0 in December 69, and defeated the Italians in the final match of the army tournament. In total, under the leadership of Illichev, the Iraqis held 52 matches.

In 1973, the Soviet coach sent to work in Iceland, where Ilyichev headed the club “Valur” from Reykjavik. Then, as now, football for Icelandic footballers is a pleasant hobby. Almost all the players worked on the main job, and went to the football field in their spare time. For example, the team included a fisherman and a teacher. By the way, in the current team there are people with quite a terrestrial specialties, an advertiser, a lawyer, a dentist.

In general, the training process for Icelanders before the arrival of Ilyichev could be compared with fitness. Classes fit in an hour and a half. With the advent of the new coach, the players had to give two hours daily.

“At first the guys could train only in the evening. Traditionally, this occupation lasted 70 minutes. I managed to convince football players that this time, even with intensive work is not enough to enhance their skills. And we increased the amount of studies to two and a half hours daily. During training, I always tried to combine exercises on physical training with tactical and technical tasks, demanded that, working with the ball, they would solve certain tactical tasks. ”

Yuriy Ilyichev
head coach of the club “Valur”

The players themselves in the beginning treated the new coach with caution. But thanks to professionalism and fanatical love for football, the coach and his team quickly found a common language.

The work of the coach gradually began to bring results. A year later his team won the silver of the local championship and got the right to play in the UEFA Cup. Two years later, “Valur” issued a golden double, winning the championship and the Cup of the country. A year later the team became the owner of the Iceland Cup.

Source: Sport-Express
Source: Sport-Express

While working with Valyura, the Soviet coach helped the English coach of Iceland’s national team Tony Nappu. All because the national team at that time included seven wards Ilyichev. In 1978, the leaders of the Icelandic Football Federation made Yuri Petrovich an offer to work with the national team. The trainer accepted the offer.

Ilyichev instilled an attacking style on the team, the Icelanders tried to act on collision course with obviously stronger opponents.

“It was difficult to expect any sensational results, but I still had work satisfaction. As a coach, I counted on local success, which was largely predetermined by the possibility of using the maximum number of Icelandic football players-professionals who performed in foreign clubs, entering into capable youth and conducting the optimal amount of trainings on the eve of the games in qualifying matches. The team, I think, showed quite mature football. ”

Yuriy Ilyichev
head coach of the club “Valur”

Loud victories Icelanders led by Ilyichev did not win. Nevertheless, we must admit that the local youth added significantly to it. The coach worked for the future. In addition, a number of footballers received inviting invitations from abroad. After the match with the Netherlands, six players were immediately invited to professional foreign clubs. Many of them left to progress in order to regularly come to the national team in the 80’s.

Source: Sport-Express
Source: Sport-Express

In 1980 Ilyichev returned to his homeland, engaged in teaching activities in the university, worked at the Department of Physical Education. Yuri Petrovich passed away in February 1988. Icelanders still remember it very warmly, and the family receives postcards from acquaintances of Icelanders.

” For me, the home soccer world cup with the participation of the Icelandic team – you can say part of the family history. It is absolutely wonderful that there was such a wonderful opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of this football holiday. My family and I, of course, support Russia, but Iceland also sincerely wish victory in the tournament , “comments Natalia Ilicheva, the granddaughter of the renowned coach (marketing manager for the Rambler Group) .

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