Off The Ball
Off The Ball

13.41 18 Jun 2016


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Eidur Gudjohnsen might be in France for Euro 2016 but as of yet, the former Chelsea striker has yet to make his major tournament debut.

The 37-year-old veteran forward remained on the bench throughout Iceland's famous 1-1 draw with Portugal on Tuesday but can still hold out hope of featuring at some point - either against Hungary today - or perhaps in the final group match against Austria. It will be the culmination of a long-held dream for a Iceland legend who had already temporarily retired.

His father, Arnor, has spoken of his pride in his son to film-maker Marcus Maher as part of a special Newstalk Team 33 programme on Iceland's meteoric rise as a football nation.

You can listen to the full interview on Kicking Ice or stream on iTunes:

Arnor Gudjohnsen was an Iceland international in his own right and also had a career abroad and made history when he and Eidur became the first father and son to play in the same senior international match back in 1996.

Eidur (then 17) came on as a sub for his father who was nearing retirement but unfortunately they never got to start a match together as the son suffered a leg break, coincidentally against Ireland under-18s.

But Eidur has battled back to have a great career at club level with spells at Chelsea and Barcelona and now finally goes to a major tournament with his country.

"It has been great adventure for him and especially after breaking his leg," Arnor told Marcus on Team 33 of his son's career.

"He was written off as a football player. He was playing at that time in PSV in Holland and they thought he would never play football again. But he himself believed that he could and he worked very hard on coming back."

As for the moment when Eidur did get to replace him as a sub in 1996, Arnor has fond memories of it, although it ultimately proved bittersweet.

"It was a great feeling and we were chosen for the game against Estonia. A month later we were supposed to play together from the start here at home against Macedonia. I think the [Iceland football] federation wanted this game to happen in front of the home public. Sadly, [Eidur] broke his leg and obviously I was getting older and it didn't happen but anyway it was a nice feeling. I came off the pitch, he came in for me in the game against Estonia and it was a nice feeling. But obviously it is not the same as if we had started together." 

As part of the programme, Marcus also spoke to Arnar Bill Gunnarsson of the Icelandic FA about some of the reasons why Iceland has managed to qualify for a tournament for the first time.


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