Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Nations League draw, we look at the six teams who join Gibraltar in League D, and could potentially be Gib’s opponents this autumn.
Photo (C) William Gracia
With the change in structure of the Nations League, there are now only seven teams in League D, which will be split into a group of four teams and a group of three. Gibraltar are seeded in the first pot due to their Nations League performances in 2018, which means they can only draw one of the other first pot nations (Faroe Islands, Latvia & Liechtenstein), and either one or two of the second pot nations (Andorra, Malta & San Marino). So, how have Gibraltar’s potential opponents done in the past couple of years?
World Ranking – 110th
2018/19 Nations League – The Faroe Islands, like Gib, finished third in their Nations League group, picking up five points from six games. Their sole win was a 3-1 home victory against Malta, while they also drew with the same opponents away, while picking up a point at home to Kosovo who won the group.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – The Faroe Islands finished fifth of six teams in the Euro Qualifiers, and once again their sole victory came against Malta – they lost their other nine qualifiers though including a 2-1 defeat away at Malta.
History vs Gibraltar – Gibraltar have played the Faroes twice before, once before joining UEFA, where Gib won 3-0, and once in their first game at the Victoria Stadium after joining UEFA, where the Faroes won 4-1. The two teams have yet to play each other since.
World Ranking – 137th
2018/19 Nations League – Latvia finished third in Group 1 of League D, but despite picking up four points, failed to actually win a game, drawing four and losing two of their six matches. Their two defeats came to Kazakhstan and Georgia, while they also drew twice with Andorra, potential opponents for Gib. Notably, Latvia only scored twice in their six games.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – Latvia finished bottom of Group G, picking up three points in a win against already-qualified Austria on the final matchday. Once again, goalscoring seemed to be an issue for Latvia, only notching three times in 10 matches.
History vs Gibraltar – Like the Faroes, Latvia have faced Gib twice in friendlies – a 5-0 victory in 2016 for Latvia, but a memorable 1-0 win for Gib under the interim management of Desi Curry, where Liam Walker’s late free kick saw Gib win their first game at the Victoria since becoming UEFA & FIFA members.
World Ranking – 180th
2018/19 Nations League – We need no reminder that Liechtenstein were in the same Nations League group as Gibraltar. They finished bottom, two points below Gib, with their sole victory coming against Julio Ribas’ side in Vaduz, while they also drew 2-2 at home to Armenia on the final matchday, a result which secured Gibraltar’s third place spot.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – Liechtenstein finished bottom of Group J, picking up two points in draws away to Greece and again at home to Armenia. Results were understandably harder to come by in a tough group that consisted of Italy and Finland, who qualified for Euro 2020, and Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
History vs Gibraltar – Liechtenstein have faced Gib three times. The only non-competitive fixture was a 0-0 friendly draw at the Victoria Stadium, while in the Nations League, after beating Gib in Vaduz, Julio Ribas’ side notched up a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture thanks to goals from George Cabrera and Joseph Chipolina. The two sides also meet later this month in Malta for a friendly.
World Ranking – 135th
2018/19 Nations League – Andorra finished bottom of Group 1, after also drawing four and losing two games like Latvia had. The lack of goals may have concerned them (two in six games), but only conceding nine in those matches too will have given them more confidence in their defensive abilities this time out.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – Andorra had a decent qualifying campaign by their standard, finishing above Moldova in Group H, taking four points from their 10 games. A home win against Moldova, and an away draw against Albania ensured they finished the campaign not bottom of their group, which will have given them some confidence.
History vs Gibraltar – The two nations have never met at senior international level. At club level, both Lincoln and Europa have knocked Andorran sides out of European qualifiers though.
World Ranking – 184th
2018/19 Nations League – Malta finished bottom of Group 3, drawing three and losing three of their six matches in their group. Two draws vs Azerbaijan and one at home to the Faroes on the final matchday was not enough for them to finish third, which in turn sees them in the bottom seeding this time out.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – Malta again joined the Faroe Islands in their qualifying group, and finished bottom again after picking up three points in a solitary victory vs the Faroes. Their only other goal in qualifying came in a loss to Norway, and the Maltese haven’t had the best of times recently.
History vs Gibraltar – The two nations have met once in Faro, and it was an historic one for Gib as Kyle Casciaro’s goal saw Gib win their first game since joining UEFA. The two sides will also meet this month in a friendly match.
World Ranking – 209th
2018/19 Nations League – San Marino had a torrid time of it in League D – they lost all six games and failed to score a single goal; no other team did that in League D. In a group that consisted of Belarus, Luxembourg and Moldova, San Marino were not able to take any scalps – they have failed to win a competitive international since 2004, or avoid defeat since 2014.
Euro 2020 Qualifying – Unsurprisingly, San Marino finished bottom of Group I, but a small upside for them was they at least managed to score once in a 3-1 home defeat to Kazakhstan. They did have a very tough group, containing three teams familiar to Gibraltar as opponents (Belgium, Scotland and Cyprus), as well as Russia.
History vs Gibraltar – The two sides have never met at senior international level. At club level, Lincoln beat La Fiorita 2-0 back in 2018.