The Gibraltar Under-17s squad for next week’s European Championship in Cyprus has been named.
Gibraltar’s Under-17 side ended their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 defeat against hosts Liechtenstein.
Goals from Menderes Caglar, Noah Graber and a Max Cottrel own goal mean the team finish bottom of their group, but will have learnt a lot from today’s game, as they plan to move on to bigger matches in the next few years.
This wraps up Gibraltar’s age-group qualifying campaigns for another year, as the next generation of potential Gibraltar stars now go back to developing at their respective clubs in the coming months. With Gibraltar boss Jeff Wood not afraid to select young players, we may see some of the players in action next month earning senior call ups in the next 12 months.
The Gibraltar U17’s suffered a crushing 9-1 defeat to Czech Republic this afternoon in their second game of the UEFA U17 Championships.
Stephen Head’s named an unchanged side from the one that lost against Croatia 4-1, as in that game Gibraltar went behind in the second minute, Martin Graiciar with the goal. Gibraltar came battling back and seconds later Byron Espinosa had an effort on goal saved by Letáček. The Czech’s made it 2-0 in the 4th minute, Sadílek delivered a corner which defender Marian Burda was on hand to score.
Czech’s made it 3-0 in the 15th minute, captain Richard Sedláček scored direct from a free-kick. Ten minutes later it was 4-0, Martin Graiciar getting his second of the game. Two minutes later it was 5-0, Jaylan Hankins made a great save to keep out Dudl’s shot but was unable to keep out the rebound from Martin Zikl.
Martin Graiciar got his hat-trick and Czech Republic’s sixth goal on the 30th minute. This was followed by Richie Parral being replaced by Ethan Llambias. The Czech’s made it 7-0 on the 37th minute, Richard Sedláček bagging his brace. Gibraltar did manage to pull one back just before half-time, Ethan Britto’s corner found Julian Valarino who scored.
The second half started with Czech’s made three substitutions straight away, bringing off their strongest players who were so dominant in the first half. Gibraltar managed to keep out the Czech Republic onslaught until the 74th minute when Filip Kubala made it 8-1. Three minutes later the Czech’s made it 9-1, Michal Sadílek with the goal.
The game restarted and the referee blew the full-time whistle with the Czech Republic comfortable winners. Gibraltar’s next game is on Saturday 31st October at 15:00.
Gibraltar started the UEFA U17 campaign with a loss, going down 4-1 to Croatia courtesy of a brace each for Duje Javorcic & Tomislav Knezevic.
The first half started with Croatia taking the lead in the second minute, midfielder Duje Javorcic with a great solo goal. Croatia doubled their lead less than ten minutes later Tomislav Knezevic with the goal. Croatia continued to dominate but were unable to find a way past the inspired Jaylan Hankins who made three crucial saves in the first half.
Gibraltar registered their first shot on target in the 35th minute, Tjay De Barr’s attempt on goal was saved by Dinko Horkas. Referee blew for half-time with the score at 2-0. The second half started with Croatia on the attack, Sandro Kulenovic’s shot was well saved by Jaylan Hankins. Minutes later Gibraltar had another chance, Richie Parral’s had an effort on goal saved by Dinko Horkas.
Gibraltar pulled one a goal back in the 49th minute, a great interception by Max Cottrell who played the ball to Andrew Hernandez, the midfielder played Tjay De Barr through on goal who squared it for Byron Espinosa to slot past Horkas. Gibraltar started to grow in confidence as the game went on with Croatia missing a handful of chances. The game started to even out with both teams making changes to try and change the turnout of the game but neither were able to do so.
In added time Croatia were awarded a penalty as Jaylan Hankins brought down Sandro Kulenovic in the area. Duje Javorcic stepped up and slotted his penalty away. Minutes after the restart Croatia made it 4-1, Tomislav Knezevic with the goal.
The game restarted and the referee blew for full-time with Croatia winning 4-1.
Gibraltar’s Under-17 national side start their qualifying campaign in Liechtenstein tomorrow, as they face the hosts, Croatia and Czech Republic in Group 7.
Stephen Head’s side, who last year took one point from their three games, will most likely target the game against Liechtenstein as their best chance of getting a point, much like their Under-19 counterparts did with a draw against the same opposition in France earlier this month.
A number of Terrence Jolley’s Under-19 squad are also in this squad, including Byron Espinosa, Andrew Hernandez and Liam Crisp, while four players aged 14 also make the team, including Ethan Britto who already has experience at this level from last years qualifiers.
The team start their campaign with a game against Croatia in Eschen, before travelling to Balzers to play the Czech Republic on Wednesday. A three day rest will then allow the players to recuperate and enjoy their surroundings, before playing the hosts on Saturday in Eschen.
Last week Gibraltar U19’s flew to France to take part in this years UEFA U19 Euro Championships. Expectations weren’t the greatest due to the lack of match preparation, flight preparation and also being stuck in the same group as Netherlands & France, which is no easy test. We caught up with midfielder Leon Clinton as he reflected on the tournament and his famous goal.
Firstly, Clinton reflect on how the tournament went, “The tournament didn’t go as well as it could have, preparation coming up to the tournament was poor, but as usual we always gave our all and left everything on the pitch. Netherlands were extremely skillful and France were a pacey and strong team, it was a tremendous feeling playing against them. Our last game against Liechtenstein, a team I’ve played 3 times already, we both had great chances to win the game but we were unable to convert them.”
Gibraltar U19 drew their last game of the Qualifiers against Liechtenstein 1-1, we asked Clinton how it felt scoring the equaliser. “The feeling was incredible. Words can’t describe the emotions I felt when I saw the ball hit the back of the net.”
Gibraltar finished bottom of their group, level on points with Liechtenstein but with a much greater goal difference due to their 9-0 losses to Netherlands & France. Clinton reflected on the lessons he learnt from the tournament, “I leant that we are nowhere near as close to the top teams, that’s obviously due to lack of pitches and training sessions.”
Lastly, Clinton gave us an insight into his ambitions for this season, “This season I’m hoping to play more first team games for Lincoln Red Imps than last year and you never know, hopefully a call up for the national squad.”
Football Gibraltar would like to thank Leon Clinton for his time and wish him the best of luck for the future.
Gibraltar finished off their European Under 19 qualifying campaign on a high note with a 1-1 draw against Liechtenstein.
Yannick Frick’s goal was cancelled out by a superb free kick from Lincoln’s Leon Clinton, but despite a host of chances for Terrence Jolley’s side at the end of the game, his side had to settle for the point.
The draw does mean Gibraltar finish bottom of their group, but the point was the first by any Gibraltar team in a UEFA qualifying match.
After two consecutive 9-0 defeats against France and the Netherlands, today’s game was always going to be the one where Gibraltar measured where their U19 side was in their progression, and the signs seem positive in that regard.
The other game in Group 10 saw France and the Netherlands, who both qualified, draw 1-1.
Gibraltar’s second match in the UEFA European U19 qualifiers ended in another 9-0 defeat, this time at the hands of hosts France.
PSG striker Jean-Kevin Augustiun, who made his league debut for the French champions this season, scored a hat-trick, while the rest of the goals were shared by Toulouse B’s Issa Diop, Stade Rennais B’s Jeremy Gelin, Romain Perraud and Olivier Boscagli of Nice, Nancy’s Arnaud Lusamba, and Sochaux’s Marcus Thuram, who is the son of former Barcelona defender Lilian.
In truth, Gibraltar may have expected heavy defeats against two of Europe’s best age group sides, who are light years ahead of Gibraltar in terms of their development, but these defeats will no doubt still be demoralising for the players, who now have until Monday to rest and recuperate before their final game against Liechtenstein.
It’s easy to criticise players when they suffer such defeats, to pick holes in their development and find scapegoats for reasons as to why these defeats are happening, but the simple truth is that even this generation of Gibraltar players have been denied the sufficient development and experience that UEFA membership brings. Had Gibraltar been accepted into UEFA in 2007, our teams would have had six further years of development, and things would be a lot different.
It may take 10 or 20 years for Gibraltar’s teams at all levels to get up to the level where they can regularly compete with higher nations, and no quick fix, no panicked change in the system will magically change things overnight. Slow, steady change, as well as a lot of patience from fans, players and coaches alike, is what is needed before Gibraltar can begin to start seeing major progress from where they are now.