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Tactical insight: Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland’s most capped player

Division 1 Féminine

Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir is a midfielder for Olympique Lyonnais and Iceland's national team.
Here, Their Pitch's Mia Eriksson takes a look at Björk Gunnarsdóttir from a tactical perspective.

Foto: Bildbyrån

On October 27 2020, Iceland captain Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, stepped out on Gamla Ullevi to lead her national team out, in what then was her 134th appearance. That match made her Iceland's most capped national player.


As of today, Björk Gunnarsdóttir has played 138 matches and has scored 22 goals for her country. She got her national team debut, already in August 2007, in a match against Slovenia. A match that Iceland lost 2-1. The midfielder gave birth to a baby boy back in November 2021 and has recently made her return to the pitch for both club and country. She is now set to play in the upcoming UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in England.


- Sara is a really ambitious and motivating player that has a lot of influence on all people around her. She is a big leader and role model and sets the standard high and pushes her teammates to be better. She keeps breaking new ground and showing people how good she is and that everything is possible, especially now after having a baby. At the same time, she is very funny and always up for a good laugh as well as making fun of me in a rondo with the national team, said Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir, defender and Björk Gunnarsdóttir’s teammate in Iceland, when asked to describe the national team captain.

- Sara is without a doubt one of the strongest people I’ve ever met - the tenacity and resilience she’s shown in more recent times, to have baby Ragnar and then return to play in an exceptionally quick time tells you everything you need to know about her, her mental and physical strength is unbelievable. She’s a trailblazer - she’s showing the world how to be a mother and a footballer at the highest level. What a woman! Sara inspires me and I’m incredibly proud to call her my friend. We have memories to last a lifetime, she is one of a kind, says Mary Earps, Manchester United and England goalkeeper, who played with Björk Gunnarsdóttir in Wolfsburg.



She joined FC Rosengård in Sweden ahead of the season in 2011 after having played back home in Iceland with Breiðablik in the top division. On her resume, she has 111 apps in the Swedish league. 34 goals and 17 assists later, she played her final match with the Swedish side, in the Damallsvenskan, in June 2016, before she joined Vfl Wolfsburg in Germany. Björk Gunnarsdóttir won the German double, in all her seasons with the Wolves, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 before she joined multiple Champions League winners, Olympique Lyonnais in the summer of 2020.

Due to the Corona pandemic, she got to play the Champions League with her new club, when the fashionable tournament knock-out stage was held in San Sebastián in Spain in August. The French team won the tournament, after playing the final at the Anoeta Stadium against the Icelandic’s former club VfL Wolfsburg. The end result was 3-1 and Björk Gunnarsdóttir played and scored the third goal in the 88th minute for Lyon.


Box to Box midfielder In Fotbollskanalen’s podcast Their Pitch, Björk Gunnarsdóttir describes herself as a typical Box to Box player in the midfield, although, in Sweden and the Damallsvenskan, she played as a forward.

Let’s take a look at Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir’s attributes as a central midfielder in the profile Box to Box. What are her skills and what does she bring to her team?

Using the scouting tool Transfer Lab, we can look at her metrics in the ‘Midfielder - Box to Box’ player profile. Björk Gunnarsdóttir ranks high in the profile and this shows her qualities in most of the metrics. Her strengths, if we let TransferLab do the talking, looking at the last 24 months, lie particularly within short progressive passing (87) and carries (90) but also when it comes to expected goals (shots from open play) where she ranks 72.


As you can see, she is ranked in the 93rd percentile overall in the player profile for her position amongst central box to box midfielders in the D1 Arkema looking at a time frame for the last 24 months.

Björk Gunnarsdóttir has just made her comeback after giving birth, where she said before her return, that her main goal was to get back out on the pitch in order to play in the Euro 2022 with Iceland. On November 16, she became a mother to baby Ragnar, and on April 7 2022, she was subbed in, when Iceland played a World Cup qualification game against Belarus. That was her official national team comeback, telling us that she most likely will get to be seen playing for Iceland in England this upcoming summer.

About TransferLab Scouting Tool:

TransferLab is a scouting software that goes beyond raw numbers. Feeding the data through our unique algorithm, the platform produces a host of predictive metrics which add depth and colour to the basic stats that are generally used within the football industry.


Applying these metrics to over 100,000 players in our database, TransferLab allows you to scout players to a level previously unavailable to most clubs. With the extensive suite of tools available within the platform, you can now discover players much more efficiently than ever before.

You can read more about TransferLab here.

Publicerad 2022-04-22 kl 11:16


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