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Norway - Lars Lagerbäck

The Norway national football team manager Lars Lagerbäck was born in Katrineholm, Sweden in 1948. He is one of the older managers currently active in the international game. He has been in his current position since 2017. 

Before becoming a manager, Lagerbäck began his playing career in the 60s. He played for amateur team Alby FF for nine years from 1960 to 1969. He struggled to establish a place for himself as a permanent first 11 player at the club even though he did spend almost a decade with them. He saw out the final four years of his playing career with Gimonäs CK, another team in his native Sweden. 

After a three year absence from the game, Lagerbäck returned - but this time it was as a managing capacity rather than as a player. His first destination was Kilafors IF, another amateur team in Sweden. He occupied this role for five successful seasons before making the step up to Arbrå BK where he stayed for two years before moving on again, this time to Hudiksvalls ABK where he stayed for another two-year stint. ABK would turn out to be Lagerbäck last job in club football as, up until now, he has worked purely in the international side of the game. 

For half a decade, from 1990 to 1995, Lars took charge of the Sweden under-21 team. During his reign, he oversaw the development of the likes of Freddie Ljungberg. Following his time with the youth, Lagerbäck was promoted to managing the Sweden B team. He stayed in this role for a year before getting his big break: being asked to be Tommy Söderberg's assistant as he took charge of the Sweden senior team. 

Quickly, Lagerbäck management prowess was noticed and his job title was upgraded to 'dual manager' rather than 'assistant manager'. Ultimately, Lagerbäck would maintain this position for nearly ten years - it was a period in which the Scandinavian team qualified for four major tournaments: the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, the 2004 European Championships in Portugal, the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland. 

Sweden were a strong team in each of these tournaments. In 2002, they were superb in the Group Stages - they beat England, Argentina and Nigeria to claim top spot - but were disappointingly defeated in the first knockout round by Senegal. In 2004 they reached the quarter-finals where they were beaten by a strong Dutch team. In 2006 he again made the knockout stages, this time losing to hosts Germany. And, in 2008, they fell at the first hurdle in the group stages. The 2008 Euros would turn out to be the last tournament Lagerbäck would manage Sweden in as he was unable to steer them towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. As a result, he resigned from his position. 

He then briefly managed Nigeria before famously moving to the Icelandic national team. He was a revelation with Iceland as he lead them to the Euros and beat England in the round-of-16. Although they were beaten by France in the last-eight, his managerial performance was enough to earn him a move to the Norway national team where he remains to this day.