Gibraltar take on Kosovo this evening in an international friendly, as they prepare for Tuesday’s qualifier at home to Georgia.
Photo © Naps
The game, between two sides who joined FIFA on the same day in 2016, will be ideal preparation for the upcoming qualifier, and will provide a stern test given Kosovo went nearly two years unbeaten before losing 5-3 away at England in their most recent qualifier back in September.
The hosts have made impressive progress in the short time they have been on the international football scene, and find themselves with a great chance of actually qualifying for Euro 2020 – they are only one point off an automatic qualifying spot in Group A of the qualifiers, and even if they fail to reach that, they have a guaranteed play-off spot due to winning their Nations League group last year.
For Gibraltar, tonight will no doubt be treated as if it was a full qualifier, with Head Coach Julio Ribas going into every game with the same high intensity – as shown in the last friendly match against Estonia back in March. As such, we expect few changes if any to recent starting line-ups, although with six subs able to be used instead of three, some of Ribas’ fringe players will be hoping to get important minutes under their belts ahead of trying to push for a more regular spot in the first eleven.
The squad itself is largely similar to the team who faced Switzerland and Denmark last month, with only three changes – Louie Annesley, who misses with a foot injury, as well as Jared Buhagiar and Jason Pusey are not in the squad, with Lee Casciaro, Ethan Santos and Mohamed Badr in – the latter two, including the Egyptian-born Lynx winger Badr who recently became a Gibraltarian after living here for five years, could make their international debuts tonight, while Badr’s Lynx team-mate Brad Power will also be hoping to earn a maiden cap at some point this evening.
Kosovo are 1/12 favourites to win the friendly tonight, with a draw being 13/1 and a Gib win as high as 45/1. Gib will be hoping to attack their opponents tonight and try to get on the scoresheet, and BTTS is currently 11/8 best price. The handicap line is currently set at 3, although if you place your bets smartly you can even get Gibraltar +4 at 4/5 – Gib have only lost two away games in the last two years by 4 or more goals.
FG’s Predicted XI:
Coleing; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Mouelhi; Pishu, Hernandez, Walker, Badr; De Barr