Greenland national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
(The Polar Teddy Bears)
AssociationGrønlands Boldspil-Union
Head coachRene Olsen & Tekle Ghebrelul[1]
CaptainNukannguaq Zeeb
Home stadiumNuuk Stadium
FIFA codeGRL (not official)
First colours
Second colours
Elo ranking
Current 193 Increase 3 (10 October 2019)[2]
Highest186 (July 1980)
Lowest203 (June 1993)
First international
 Faroe Islands 6–0 Greenland 
(Sauðárkrókur, Iceland; 2 July 1980)
Biggest win
 Greenland 16–0 Sark 
(St Martin's, Guernsey, Channel Islands; 1 July 2003)
Biggest defeat
 Faroe Islands 6–0 Greenland 
(Sauðárkrókur, Iceland; 2 July 1980)
 Guernsey 6–0 Greenland 
(Stromness, West Burra, Shetland; 13 July 2005)
 Menorca 6–0 Greenland 
(Åland Islands; 29 June 2009)
 Isle of Man 6–0 Greenland 
(Visby; 30 June 2017)

The Greenland national football team represents Greenland in international football. It is controlled by the Football Association of Greenland.[3] Although it has the same status as the Faroe Islands within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland is not, like the Faroe Islands national football team, a member of FIFA nor of any continental confederation and therefore is not eligible to enter the World Cup or other sanctioned tournaments. Most of the matches they have played have been against the Faroe Islands and Iceland, but neither of the two consider those games full internationals. The Greenland national team are aiming to join FIFA in the near future.[4]


The Football Association of Greenland was founded in 1971 to oversee the development of football in the territory, although an island-wide club championship had been held regularly since 1954. Greenland played its first international match on 2 July 1980 against another Danish territory, the Faroe Islands, losing 6–0. The match was played in Sauðárkrókur in Iceland as part of the Greenland Cup, a friendly tournament. In their second match on 3 July, Greenland played the hosts and full FIFA members Iceland in Húsavík, losing 4–1, finishing third in the tournament.

Three years later, they hosted the second Greenland Cup, however the 1983 format consisted of a single match between Greenland and the Faroe Islands to determine the winner. Played on 29 June in Nuuk, the match finished 0–0. Therefore a few days later, on 3 July the match was replayed, this time ending in a 3–2 victory for the Faroese.

The third and final Greenland Cup was played in the Faroe Islands in 1984, and saw Iceland's return to the competition. In their opening match on 3 August, Greenland were narrowly defeated 1–0 by Iceland in Fuglafjørður. Two days later, they were once again defeated 1–0 by the Faroe Islands in Klaksvík, and finished third in the tournament as in 1980. Shortly after the tournament, they played a friendly match against the Faroese on 7 August in Tórshavn, they lost 4–2.

Greenland is a member of the International Island Games Association and has taken part in Football at the Island Games. Since 13 October 2005, it is a provisional member of the N.F.-Board and since 25 March 2006 it is full-member. On 17 October 2009, the team was accepted as a provisional member of the IFU. Greenland also played Tibet, another non-FIFA team, in 2001 at Copenhagen's Vanlose Arena. However, the team was composed of players who were of Tibetan heritage and not from Tibet themselves. The match drew international attention when China threatened to embargo Greenland's shrimp exports because of Tibet's contested sovereignty. Greenland won the match 4–1.[5][6]

Greenland have an annual tournament called the Greenlandic Football Championship. The national team players compete in this tournament.

Island Games[edit]

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
Faroe Islands 1989 Fourth place 4th 4 1 0 3 4 −8
Åland Islands 1991 Round 1 8th 4 0 0 4 8 −15
Isle of Wight 1993 Fourth place 4th 4 2 0 2 1 −6
Gibraltar 1995 Fourth place 4th 5 2 0 3 10 −10
Jersey 1997 Round 1 9th 4 0 1 3 3 −9
Gotland 1999 Quarterfinals 8th 5 2 0 3 11 −19
Isle of Man 2001 Round 1 9th 4 2 1 1 6 −2
Guernsey 2003 Round 1 10th 2 3 0 2 22 −5
Shetland 2005 Round 1 8th 5 1 2 2 8 −14
Rhodes 2007
Did not enter
Åland Islands 2009 Round 1 9th 4 1 0 3 8 −15
Isle of Wight 2011 Round 1 11th 4 1 0 3 5 −7
Bermuda 2013 Runners-up 2nd 5 2 0 3 21 −5
Jersey 2015 Play-offs 5th 4 3 1 0 8 −4
Gotland 2017 Runners-up 2nd 5 3 1 1 7 −9
Gibraltar 2019 Not held

  Champion   Runners-up   3rd Place

**Red border color indicates the tournament was held at home.

FIFI Wild Cup participation[edit]

Greenland participated in the 2006 FIFI Wild Cup. The team played two games and lost both, the first 0–1 against the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the second 2–4 against Zanzibar. They were eliminated in the First Round.

ELF Cup participation[edit]

Greenland was eliminated in Round 1 of the ELF Cup. They played three matches in total, beating the national team of Gagauzia 2–0, drawing 1–1 with Zanzibar and losing 1–0 to Kyrgyzstan.

Future international participation[edit]

Typical playing surfaces in Greenland, such as this one in Ilulissat, do not meet FIFA regulations.
However, pitches like these ones with artificial turf are becoming more common.

Greenland has been seeking to participate in confederated football since at least 1998 when then national team manager Sepp Piontek stated that he had already asked UEFA to look into the possibility of Greenland becoming a member of the organization.[7] About the issue, former DBU president Allan Hansen stated, "Concerning the GBU, I’m not convinced [they] officially applied for FIFA and UEFA membership at around the same time as Gibraltar. As I’m informed, the GBU in the late nineties sent a letter [requesting clarification on a number of issues] but..there were no follow-up actions." Additionally, he stated, "I can’t foretell what will happen in the future, but I have attended a meeting with UEFA, DBU and GBU and I'm convinced that the day DBU and GBU present a partnership agreement and a road-map for the development of Greenlandic football, UEFA will be ready to discuss options for supporting the development of Greenlandic football as well as football on an administrative level."[8] However, another report from 2010 states that an application was submitted but other factors such as the admittance of former Soviet and Yugoslav nations made for bad timing of the application.[9]

FIFA's approval of FieldTurf may allow Greenland to create FIFA-standard playing pitches and apply to play full internationals. They would join either UEFA (due to links with Denmark) or CONCACAF (geographically, Greenland is part of North America). The first artificial turf in Greenland was completed and inaugurated in Qaqortoq in September 2009. On 13 September 2010, FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrived in Qaqortoq and announced FIFA's approval of the new field, which is seen as a major step towards the country being granted FIFA membership.[10]

In 2011, Allan Hansen, chairman of the Danish Football Association stated that he did not believe that Greenland had the opportunity to become a member of FIFA or a confederation immediately. However, in December 2014 the DBU and Greenland's GBU formed a partnership with the aim of having Greenland included as a UEFA and FIFA member by 2020. One of the greatest barriers to admittance at that time was FIFA's strict regulations on stadiums and playing surfaces. The DBU's support of a Greenlandic application to FIFA included financial support which would be used to replace the clay courts of at least one field in each of the country's four municipalities, with artificial turf. Additionally, it was announced in May 2015 the national government had allocated one million dollars to design a plan for the construction of a new covered national stadium in Nuuk.[11] The intentions of the plan were to design a covered and heated facility that would have a capacity of several thousand spectators, with the plan to be presented to the Parliament of Greenland later in the autumn session of 2016.[12] Although unrelated to the stadium proposal, the first artificial pitch was laid in Nuuk, the country's capital, in June 2015[13] and at the national stadium in July 2016.[14]

Before becoming a member of FIFA, Greenland would be required to be a member of a continental confederation. However, UEFA now requires new members to be recognized by the United Nations as fully independent. Another possibility would be for Greenland to join CONCACAF as it is geographically closer to North America and the confederation allows dependent territories to join as new members.[15]

It was believed that UEFA would vote to change its membership requirements at the 41st Annual Congress held in Helsinki, Finland so that they were more in line with those of FIFA which allows non-independent states under certain conditions. At that time DBU chair Allan Hansen said, "Greenland is in a pre-membership stage right now. I'm a lot more optimistic than I was five years ago." At that time, GBU chair John Thorsen expected that if UEFA changes its membership requirement, Greenland could have an application together by 2020.[16] However, after the UEFA Congress, no mention of a rule change was made.[17]

New National Stadium[edit]


Greenland's current kit is provided by Danish sportswear company Select.

Current squad[edit]

The following 20 players were called up by Rene Olsen and Tekle Ghebrelul for the 2017 Island Games.[18]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1 1GK Lars Pavia Fritsen Greenland
12 1GK Loke Svane (1982-11-03) 3 November 1982 (age 36) Greenland B-67

13 2DF Aputsiaq Evald Birch (1985-06-04) 4 June 1985 (age 34) Greenland B-67
3 2DF Niels Svane Greenland FC Malamuk
4 2DF Nukannguaq Zeeb (Captain) (1982-07-09) 9 July 1982 (age 37) Greenland G-44 Qeqertarsuaq
5 2DF Lars Peter Broberg Greenland G-44 Qeqertarsuaq
16 2DF Malik Berthelsen Greenland
15 2DF Steffen Boller Greenland Inuit Timersoqatigiiffiat-79
14 2DF Kaali Lund Mathæussen (1988-01-01) 1 January 1988 (age 31) Greenland Nagdlunguaq-48

6 3MF Anders H. Petersen (1981-03-06) 6 March 1981 (age 38) Greenland B-67
18 3MF Norsaq Lund Mathæussen Greenland B-67
17 3MF Nikki Petersen (1992-02-06) 6 February 1992 (age 27) Greenland B-67
21 3MF Patrick Frederiksen Greenland Inuit Timersoqatigiiffiat-79
19 3MF Nick Reimer Greenland
2 3MF Mika Davidsen Greenland B-67

8 4FW Johan Bistrup Greenland B-67
7 4FW Malik Juhl (1989-06-18) 18 June 1989 (age 30) Greenland B-67
10 4FW Amos Rosbach Greenland
11 4FW Ari Claus Jean Lehnfelt Hermann Greenland B-67
9 4FW John Ludvig Broberg (1990-11-19) 19 November 1990 (age 28) Greenland B-67


Greenland national team in Northern Cyprus
Manager Year (s)
Greenland Niels Møller 1977
Greenland Uvdlo Jakobsen
Greenland Elisaeus Kreutzmann
Greenland Lars Lundblad 1984
Greenland Simon Simonsen 1989
Greenland Isak Nielsen Kleist 1993–1995
Greenland Ulf Abrahamsen 1996
Greenland Lars Olsvig
Greenland Jens Jorgen Egede
Germany Sepp Piontek 1999–2002
Denmark Jens Tang Olesen
Greenland Kristian Lyberth
Germany Sepp Piontek 2004
Denmark Jens Tang Olesen
Greenland Hans Frederik Olsen
Greenland Tonnes Berthelsen
Greenland René Olsen
Greenland René Olsen
Eritrea Tekle Ghebrelul



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hansen, Nukappiaaluk. "Country coaches in football for A-national teams for men and women has taken teams to the Island Games in 2015, which takes place in Jersey" (in Danish). Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Football in Greenland". (in French). Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  4. ^ Homewood, Brian. "Danish FA supports Greenland's bid to join UEFA, FIFA". U.K. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ Knox, Tomos (22 October 2014). "The unlikely success story of football on the massive island of Greenland". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  6. ^ Thomsen, Per Bech (30 April 2001). "Defiant Greenland will play Tibet". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  7. ^ Burton, Mark. "Football: Greenland presses for recognition". Independent. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Grønlands dyre stadionprojekt er genvej til Fifa-familien". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  10. ^ Haydon, John (14 September 2010). "FIFA gives blessing to Greenland's new soccer venue". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  11. ^ Krarup, Poul. "Nyt parløb skal bringe Grønland ind i Uefa-familien" (in Danish). Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Første skridt mod et nationalt stadion i Nuuk" (in Danish). Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Første kunstgræsbane i Nuuk klar til indvielse" (in Danish). Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Kunstgræsbanen klar til indvielse" (in Danish). Sermitsiaq. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  15. ^ Homewood, Brian. "Danish FA supports Greenland's bid to join UEFA, FIFA". Reuters. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  16. ^ McGwin, Kevin. "Greenland could soon be a step closer to joining the world of international soccer". Arctic Now. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  17. ^ "UEFA Congress approves Good Governance reforms". UEFA. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Greenland 2017 Island Games Team Roster". Retrieved 14 July 2018.

External links[edit]