Gibraltar take on San Marino in Nations League opener

Gibraltar will open their upcoming UEFA Nations League campaign against San Marino on Saturday 5th September.

Photo © William Gracia

Yesterday’s draw in Amsterdam saw Gibraltar drawn in the group of three, with Liechtenstein completing Group 2. The group of three means that Gibraltar will have to fill up two empty fixture slots with friendly matches if they wish – although with all 54 other UEFA members having fixtures guaranteed in all six slots, should Gib play they would have to face a member from outside of Europe.

Gibraltar’s free spots are on Matchday 2 and Matchday 4, with a match away to Liechtenstein sandwiched in between on October 8th. November sees the conclusion of the group, where Gibraltar firstly play away at San Marino, before taking on Liechtenstein in the group finale on November 16th.

With Group 1 containing Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra & Malta, the general consensus is that in Group 2, Gibraltar have a genuine chance of promotion to League C – although only the top team are promoted from each group. At the very least, Gibraltar should be targeting to get results in their games, with especially the matches against San Marino, who have failed to win a fixture in 16 years, potential chances for taking three points.

Gibraltar’s Fixtures:

Saturday 5th September 2020: Gibraltar v San Marino – 15:00 CET

Thursday 8th October 2020: Liechtenstein v Gibraltar 20:45 – CET

Friday 13th November 2020: San Marino v Gibraltar 20:45 – CET

Monday 16th November 2020: Gibraltar v Liechtenstein 20:45 – CET


Nations League: Gibraltar’s potential opponents profiled

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?

Faroe Islands:

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.

San Marino:

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.


Gibraltar in March double-header in Malta

Gibraltar will face Malta and Liechtenstein in an international friendly tournament hosted by the Maltese FA in March.

Photo (C) William Gracia

The friendlies will serve as good practice for the upcoming Nations League later in the year – both of Gib’s friendly opponents may also be in Gib’s group when the draw is completed on March 3rd in Amsterdam.

Gibraltar have history against both teams in their nearly seven-year spell in UEFA; Kyle Casciaro’s goal in Faro saw Gib, then managed by Allen Bula, beat Malta 1-0 in 2014 in what was their first win since joining UEFA, while as well as a 0-0 friendly draw in 2016, Julio Ribas’ side memorably came from behind to beat Liechtenstein 2-1 in October 2018, thanks to goals from George Cabrera and Joseph Chipolina.

The GFA have also confirmed that Gibraltar will also play two further friendlies in late May/early June, with both opponents and venues to be confirmed.


Malta v Gibraltar – 26th March 2020 – 4pm – Ta’Qali National Stadium

Gibraltar v Liechtenstein – 29th March 2020 – Kick Off TBC – Ta’Qali National Stadium


Crisp joins Cottrell at Brymbo FC

Gibraltar U21 international Liam Crisp has followed his fellow compatriot Max Cottrell in joining Welsh side Brymbo Football Club while they continue with the university studies in the UK.

During the January transfer window, Crisp and Cottrell put pen to paper at Brymbo FC who currently ply their trade in the Welsh National League – they currently sit sixth in its Premier Division, which is the 3rd tier of Welsh football.

Cottrell, who started off the season at Mons Calpe, was unveiled by Brymbo at the end of January and started their recent defeat in the Cup to Pennydarren BGC.

Crisp was announced on Thursday 12th February from Manchester 62 and the Welsh club confirmed this morning that he is available for their league game this weekend.

Both players will be hoping to gain valuable minutes under their belts with international duty only one month away with the Gibraltar U21’s taking on Norway and Cyprus.


De Barr: “The recovery is going well”

Football Gibraltar caught up with Gibraltar international, and Real Oviedo B striker Tjay De Barr, to catch up on his recovery from an injury sustained playing for Gib last year, life in Oviedo and more.

Photo © Real Oviedo

De Barr suffered a cruciate ligament injury playing for Gibraltar against Switzerland back in November, so we asked how his recovery was going: “The recovery is going well, with a few minor setbacks, however it’s normal. At first, when I thought it was only a meniscus tear it turned out to be a little bit more, involving the cruciate ligaments. That’s why the recovery has taken longer than I was expecting. I’ve basically been in the gym since the injury happened, just a few days ago I did my first ball work session and it felt really good to just put some boots on again, something I have missed a lot.”

For 99% of footballers, setbacks are part and parcel of the game, so has the 19-year-old attacker used any specific methods to deal with this injury setback? “Obviously like you say it’s part of the game, I’d say I’ve been quite unlucky with injuries. Back in Lincoln I had problems with my ankles, halfway through the season with Europa I had problems with my hamstring and now it’s my knee. Dealing with this setback isn’t any different to any other injury I’ve had, it’s making sure that you come back fully fit and ready to play, which is better than rushing to get back as early as possible and suffering from another injury.

When you’re injured and not playing, watching from aside you then notice how much football means and how much you miss it, I would say that’s what keeps me going.”

De Barr moved from Gibraltar to Oviedo, in the north of Spain, after completing his European commitments with Europa last summer – what is it like living in the city? “Living here away from home has been good for now, I do feel comfortable around the people I am so that’s good. I also do believe that it can just get better from here, I’ve managed to remain happy whilst I haven’t been playing so I can just imagine I’ll be much more happier whenever I get the chance to start playing again. I wouldn’t say there are any similarities, just the simple fact that I’m here to do one thing which is enjoy playing football like I did back home.”

The draw for the Nations League takes place on March 3rd, and Gibraltar are top seeds in League D. De Barr opened the scoring against Armenia in the same competition back in 2018, so how does he feel Gib can do, especially given Gibraltar will face a similar standard of opposition to themselves? “I’m sure that myself and my teammates in the national team are excited for the Nations league, it will be a very exciting campaign. As people from the outside see a great chance in achieving something this time round, I’m not too focused on that. Football is a very unpredictable sport, so you never know what to expect. The team will always try to achieve something great.

We’ve come up against some of these teams that we could possibly be facing and we’ve won and lost some so that’s what will make this campaign interesting and I’m just looking forward to it and making sure that if I have the chance to play I’ll be ready and fit.”


Men’s Futsal team announced for upcoming qualifiers

Gibraltar’s National Futsal Head Coach, Jose Carlos Gil Prieto, has selected a 14-man squad for the upcoming UEFA EURO Futsal Qualifiers in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Photo © GFA

After the recent friendly double-header in Northern Ireland, which both teams shared a victory a-piece in, Gibraltar now turn their attentions to the qualifiers, where they face Switzerland, Cyprus and Bosnia & Herzegovina, who are hosting the mini tournament in Zenica.

They will be hoping to improve on recent qualifying performances, but face a tough group – the upside for them though is finishing third in their group could see them make the qualifying round playoffs, with 5 of the best 9 3rd-place teams entering the playoffs which will be held approximately in April as a two-legged home and away tie

Gibraltar Men’s Futsal Squad (image courtesy of GFA):


Gibraltar leave Northern Ireland on a positive note

Gibraltar Men & Women squads ended their respective international friendlies against Northern Ireland this weekend with plenty of lessons and a victory.

It was the Gibraltar Women’s team that got the weekend underway with a defeat to Northern Ireland. After trailing 4-0 at half-time, Gibraltar came out much more positive in the second half and the result at full-time saw the hosts win 5-1, with the visitors only goal coming from Joelle Gilbert.

A few hours later the Men’s side were in action; Gibraltar found themselves trailing 2-1 with Naoufal El Andaloussi scoring, but the visitors were by the far the more clinical side and ran out 8-1 winners.

The Gibraltar Women’s team found themselves playing their double-header the following day and were defeated 4-0. Kyrelle Revagliatte was a player who received many plaudits for her goalkeeping display and the friendlies, in general, are ones that the team can take positives from and look to take forward.

On the final day of the international friendlies weekend, Gibraltar Men walked away with a superb victory. An own goal, one from Jaydan Parody and a Nicholas Castle brace secured the win in an end-to-end game.

The training for the Men’s team continues after this weekend, with the squad set to travel to Bosnia on the 26th to take on the host nation, Cyprus and Switzerland.


Gibraltar Futsal squads announced for International friendly

Gibraltar Futsal head coach Jose Carlos Gil Prieto has announced a 15-man squad for their International friendly against Northern Ireland this weekend, while Women’s Head Coach Gayle Langtry has also named her squad for he Women’s Teams double-header against the same nation.

The squads travel to Belfast in the next few days and will play a double-header against the hosts, returning Sunday evening.

Men’s squad:

  1. Nicholas Castle
  2. Lee Coombes
  3. Naoufal El Andaloussi
  4. Kieron Garcia
  5. Zane Holgado
  6. Andrew Lopez
  7. Aiman Mkerreff
  8. Mark Moxham
  9. Denzel Navarro
  10. Liam Neale
  11. Alan Parker
  12. Jaydan Parody
  13. Ashley Rodriguez
  14. Michael Rodriguez
  15. Aidan Serra

Women’s Squad

  1. Zoe Ballantine
  2. Tiana Borrell
  3. Josie Cummings
  4. Keshia Doody
  5. Joelle Gilbert
  6. Renai Marcus
  7. Gabriella Martinez
  8. Reighann Mascarenhas-Olivero
  9. Arwen Neale
  10. Kyrelle Revagliatte
  11. Shania Robba
  12. Kaira Sene
  13. Tiffany Viagas
  14. Aerin Victory

Belarus beat valiant Gibraltar

Goals in either half secured Belarus a 2-0 win over a Gibraltar side which put in a positive display.

David Ochello brought Ethan Santos, Andrew Hernandez & Jayce Olivero straight into the squad, replacing Stefan Ramirez, James Parkinson & Evan De Haro while Leon Clinton led the line and Ayoub El Hmidi dropped to the bench.

Belarus nearly opened the scoring in the opening 50 seconds but Ilya Ahkurin shot just wide from inside the box. Jaylan Hankins would be called into action a few minutes later, making two great saves to keep the score at 0-0.

Belarus were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute for a handball which was scored by Pavel Sedko. Jaylan Hankins would make an excellent low save to deny the visitors a second goal then Jayce Olivero would see his shot blocked on the other end.

The Belgian referee blew for half-time with Belarus leading Gibraltar 1-0.

Shkurin squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 on the 53rd minute as the Belarus striker headed the ball wide from Shevchenko’s cross. Ochello would make his first substitution a few minutes later with Shaun De Los Santos replacing Leon Clinton.

After missing a number of chances, Shkurin would make no mistake in the 58th minute as he easily beat his marker in the air and headed the ball past Hankins to make it 2-0.

With about 20 minutes remaining, Ochello made his second substitution with Ayoub El Hmidi replacing Dylan Peacock. Bram Van Driessche did enjoy the sound of his whistle but the lenient eventually showed his first yellow card to Gibraltar defender Jamie Serra.

Ochello made his final two substitutions in the 89th minute with Michael Ruiz & Stefan Ramirez replacing Jack Breed & Jamie Serra.

There were no further goals in the three minutes added time and Belarus walked away with a 2-0 win.


Switzerland qualify while Gibraltar finish bottom

Switzerland secured qualification to Euro 2020 with a comfortable 6-1 win over Gibraltar in what is probably their last game at the Victoria Stadium before it’s redevelopment.

Gibraltar’s promising start was undone in the 10th minute when Denmark made it 1-0 as a low cross found its way to Cedric Itten at the back post, and the striker tapped the ball into an empty net.

The Swiss continued to control the game but the odd Gibraltar attack had the crowd rallying – but it would be their final ball which would let them down.

Tjay De Barr did his utmost best to lead the Gibraltar line (as he has done throughout their campaign) and for the first 33 minutes proved too be a handful for Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji.

The French referee brought a halt to a positive first half display from Gibraltar with the visitors leading 1-0.

The vistors got off to a fast start and a Loris Bentio shot was excellently saved by Dayle Coleing. Switzerland eventually made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute as a deflected header from Ruben Vargas beat Coleing, sending him the wrong way.

Switzerland scored a third which mirrored the first, Gibraltar defence fail to clear a cross and Christian Fassnacht fires in the loose ball. Julio Ribas would later be forced into making a double substitution with Reece Styche & Jamie Coombes replacing Lee Casciaro & Tjay De Barr, both picking up injuries.

Coleing made a good save to prevent Ruben Vargas from getting his second of the night and minutes later, kept out a close range header from Itten. Gibraltar got a goal back in the 74th minute as Reece Styche picked up a loose ball in the box and fired it past Sommer.

Less than 60 seconds later and Swiss made it 4-1 thanks to Loris Benito. Goals number 5 & 6 were two minutes apart as Itten got his brace and captain Granit Xhaka with a nice finish from inside the box.

There were no further goals in the four minutes of added time shown and Switzerland ran out 6-1 winners.