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Euro Whites: Eidur Gudjohnsen

27 June 2016

As Iceland prepare to face England, bwfc.co.uk profile a former Wanderers fan favourite hoping to be involved tonight who enjoyed two stints at Macron Stadium

Ahead of Iceland's Euro 2016 round-of-16 clash with England, bwfc.co.uk continues our ongoing series throughout Euro 2016 as we profile one of their greatest ever players who will be desperate to feature tonight and extend his nation's stay in the competition after an international career of near-misses.

EIDUR GUDJOHNSEN
ICELAND (1996-PRESENT) 
87 CAPS 26 GOALS

European Championships: 1 (EURO 2016) 
Best Stage Reached: TBC 

Tournament Appearances: 1 
Tournament Goals: 0

Having come out of international retirement to help Iceland qualify for Euro 2016, Eidur Gudjohnsen will be hoping the Indian summer period of his career continues as his home nation continue to shock opponents at their first major finals appearance.

The 37-year-old spent the second half of the 2014/15 with Wanderers with one eye on making an international return, having initially burst onto the scene at the Reebok Stadium in the late nineties. 

Starting his career in his native Iceland with Reykjavik-based Valur, he joined Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in 1995, where he lined up alongside Brazilian superstar Ronaldo. 

Although, injuries curtailed his progress with the Eredivisie club, he was still handed an international debut against Estonia in April 1996, famously coming on in place of his father, Arnor.

Following a brief stint back in Iceland with KR Reykjavik, Colin Todd first brought Gudjohnsen to Bolton in 1998 after the young forward impressed on the Trotters’ summer tour of Ireland.

Handed a first team debut against Birmingham City in September 1998, Gudjohnsen would have to wait until the following March to firmly break into the Wanderers’ team, later starting in the Play-Off Final against Watford.

Winning his place back in the international set-up after impressing for the Whites, he scored his first Iceland goal in a Euro 2000 qualifier in September 1999, though they would fail to qualify for the finals tournament.

Bolton’s star-man during the 1999/00 season, Gudjohnsen finished the campaign with 21 goals as they once again reached the play-offs, as well as both the FA Cup and League Cup semi-finals. 

Having scored in the semi-final first leg against Ipswich Town, injury forced the forward to miss the second leg as Bolton were knocked out in his absence. 

Signing for Chelsea in a £4m deal in June, Gudjohnsen continued his form in the top-flight, while he also scored twice in 2002 World Cup qualification as Iceland once again missed out.

Bouncing back to help Chelsea qualify for the Champions League in 2002/03, he captained his country for the first time in a Euro 2004 qualifier against Faroe Islands in June 2003.


Retaining the armband, he would score five times in qualification as Iceland finished just one point short of a play-off place, before also scoring six times in their disastrous 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Surviving the arrivals of both Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, Gudjohnsen’s status grew as he twice lifted the Premier League with the Blues before departing for pastures new in 2006, joining Champions League holders Barcelona.

Despite becoming Iceland’s record goalscorer after netting his 18th international goal in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Latvia in October 2007, he would again miss out on a major finals appearance following another disappointing qualifying campaign.

Enjoying more luck at club level as he spent three years at the Nou Camp, the highlight of Gudjohnsen’s time in Spain came during his final year with the club as Barcelona won the treble in 2008/09, lifting La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey.

Joining Monaco that summer, he was on the move again six months later as he returned to England, joining Tottenham Hotspur on loan.

Also featuring sporadically for Iceland as they failed to qualify for both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, brief spells with Stoke City, Fulham, AEK Athens, Cercle Brugge and Club Brugge followed in the forthcoming seasons.

A regular for Iceland during the second half of 2014 World Cup qualification, Gudjohnsen helped Iceland reach the play-offs only to suffer a 2-0 aggregate loss to Croatia, with the forward announcing his international retirement soon after – a decision he would soon reverse.

With Iceland on course to qualify for Euro 2016 during the first half of qualification, he re-signed for Wanderers in December 2014 with one eye on prolonging his international career.

Scoring six times from 24 appearances during an impressive half-season stint at Macron Stadium, Gudjohnsen’s form saw him rewarded with an international recall against Kazakhstan in March 2015.

Rolling back the years, the veteran opened the scoring to net his first international goal since September 2009, before helping Iceland qualify for their first ever major finals as group winners.

Moving on to Shijiazhuang Ever Bright last summer, the forward signed for Molde in February 2016, and despite sporadic appearances for Iceland in recent months, was named in their 23-man squad for Euro 2016.

On the scoresheet in Iceland's final warm-up friendly against Liechtenstein, Gudjohnsen had to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench as came from behind to clinch a shock 1-1 draw against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in their opening match at 2016.

Handed his tournament debut as a late substitute in their second outing against Hungary, Iceland had looked set to secure a famous maiden victory after Gylfi Sigurdsson's first half penalty fired them in front.


However, there was to be late heartbreak for both Iceland and the forward, who donned the captain's armband in his six minutes on the pitch, as a Birkir Mar Saevarsson own goal levelled the scored in the dying embers of the match, before Gudjohnsen had a late effort deflected behind when well-placed from the last kick of the game.

Again unused as Iceland finally clinched a deserved first victory in their last group game against Austria, Arnor Ingvi Traustason's stoppage-time winner sealed a 2-1 victory for the Icelanders, setting up a mouth-watering round-of-16 meeting with England after both nations finished second in their respective groups.

Facing off against the country where he enjoyed the peak years of his career, the forward will be hoping to follow in his father Arnor's footsteps, who scored in the very first meeting between the two sides in a 1-1 draw back in 1982.

Captain in their previous clash with England in 2004, Gudjohnsen will be desperate for Iceland's fairytale to continue as they prepare for a game he himself has labelled as biggest in Iceland's history.

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