Gibraltar U21 will make history today regardless of the scoreline as they take on Austria in their first ever competitive Under 21 fixture, at the Sonnenseestadion.
After not entering the last qualifying campaign, Gibraltar U21 Head Coach Aaron Asquez takes an 18-man squad for the first of a double-header, where after this they will play Armenia U21 in Faro, aided by the addition of three of the currently senior squad – Jamie Coombes, Erin Barnett and Jayce Olivero will join them after their game vs Cyprus at the Estadio Algarve.
The hosts are understandably massive favourites at 1/100 to record what looks on paper to be a comfortable win, with the team captained by Real Madrid Castilla’s Philipp Lienhart looking to start off strongly in a group that, alongside Gib and Armenia, also has Russia, and two teams who qualified for this summer’s U21 finals in the shape of Serbia and Macedonia. Austria themselves only missed out on qualifying for the final tournament when losing on away goals to Spain U21, which shows how strong an outfit they are.
Gibraltar are as high as 150/1 to record a monumental win, while even a draw is not fancied by the bookies, hence the 45/1 best price you can currently get on it. Another Austrian player to keep an eye out on is Arnel Jakupovic, the Empoli striker who made his Serie A debut this season after signing from Middlesbrough for €1 million in January. He’s scored in his only U21 cap so far, and if he starts tonight the 6′ 2″ striker could cause a lot of problems for the Gibraltar defence.
Before tonight’s game, we caught up with Gibraltar U21 and Lions midfielder Graeme Torrilla, in an interview you can read here