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Euro Qualifiers: Joseph Chipolina

With Gibraltar’s Euro Qualifiers finished, we caught up with Gibraltar’s most capped player in qualification Joseph Chipolina as he reflected on the campaign.


2257510_w2Firstly, Joseph Chipolina reflected on how the campaign went, ” I suppose it has been a great experience not only for players but for everyone who has been involved with the squad. Most of the people started of this route not knowing really what would be needed or what we would have to expect so i’m hoping everyone has learnt much from this Qualifier, and will be able to go into the next one with more experience, knowing roughly what could be expected. This Qualifier has been a difficult one because of the teams we have been playing against, it was known as the strongest group. I have to say for my first Qualifier even though we have lost all our games if I could have chosen a group it would have been this one. It has been a privilege to play against the World Champions and top quality players like Lewandowski, Gotze, Muller etc.” 

Joseph has been playing regularly for club and country since returning to Gibraltar from Spain, we asked how playing regularly has helped his development, “I am really happy and pleased to have been able to play every game for the National side especially playing against all those Nations. It is always important for a player to play games like this you gain self confidence and if things then start going smoothly and well, your confidence starts to grow and not only that but you play freely without fear and enjoy every game.”

7872693-joseph-chipolina-i-karin-beliarabi-643-385Chipolina has earned many plaudits for his performances in the Euro Qualifiers, with top sporting journalists talking about how Joseph has the potential to be able to compete in top divisions in Spain & Scotland, we got his feelings on the news, “The most important thing is self confidence and you knowing you are having a good time while playing. If then you hear good things about yourself by others and especially by journalists then it’s a massive achievement. This obviously helps on your motivational side making you want to keep up those standards and playing the same way you’ve been playing throughout.”

However young or old you are, as a footballer you never stop learning. Joseph reflected on the lessons he learnt from the Qualifiers, “You learn many lessons the most important is trying to enjoy every game to the fullest and giving it your all. In these games you can’t make mistakes because every mistake you make will end up with the opposition having a chance or scoring a goal.” 

0000866037_230x230_jpg000Growing up Joseph Chipolina has played most of his childhood days in Spain, playing for Real Balompédica Linense & CD San Roque. He had some advice for those youngsters hoping to do the same, “This is a good question I would say for them to go over, as it is there where I grew as a player. The professionalism and discipline you get there is not the same as we get here. Lately things are changing here in Gibraltar as we are becoming more professional but it will take some time before we notice a difference in attitudes and also discipline.” 


Lincoln currently sit top of the league after defeating Lynx 4-0, with clubs investing more money every season, we asked how hard it will be for Lincoln to win their 14th title in a row, “Lincoln have a great team once again and it is true that other teams have strengthened, but as we say in Lincoln it is up to us to carry on our winning streak and demonstrate one more year that who ever wants to win the league will have to work hard for it. I personally think we stand a big chance once again in winning the league.” 


Football Gibraltar would like to thank Joseph Chipolina for his time and wish him the best of luck for the future. 

 

 

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Match Report: Gibraltar 1-9 Czech Republic

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. 

 

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Euro Qualifiers: Jordan Perez

With Gibraltar’s Euro Qualifiers finished, we caught up with one of the team’s standout performers Jordan Perez as he reflected on the campaign. 


Firstly Jordan Perez reflected on how the campaign went, “Obviously as it was our first tournament under the UEFA flag; result wise it wasn’t good at all even though we expected it, but in the past four or five games we have progressed as a team especially attacking wise but defensively we still have to work a lot. All in all I reckon it’s been a very good experience for all of us and one which we would have never imagined to be possible five years ago. It’s been great to be able to represent my country at the highest level of football and the way the lads have been helping each other out whenever we’ve had problems has been great. We have realised the level we have to be at, to be able to compete against big nations such as Germany, Ireland etc. It’s all a matter of training hard and seeing what kind of youth we have coming through the ranks.”

10153879_10152518544613882_694085575311667362_nThere are two games that stand out for Jordan Perez; the horror show at Ireland and the heroic display against Germany, Perez reflected on the Ireland game, “I was having a very bad period psychologically to be honest as I was the Lincoln keeper for many years and they brought in a new keeper [Raul Navas] and I was never given the chance. I was just pushed aside so morally I was quite low. I was trying to get out of contract and it wasn’t possible before the Ireland game, so I wasn’t match fit and I feel it did affect me. Despite this we were playing against Ireland in the Aviva Stadium and apart from three or four mistakes it was still an avalanche of goals.”

After Jordan’s own goal against Ireland, the keeper was the trending topic on social media. We asked if the situation would have been worse if it happened in Gibraltar, rather than on the international stage, “Yes, at the end of the day we realised that no matter how many people watch you still have to perform to the best of your ability. Even if there’s one hundred people watching or forty thousand people watching, what really matters to a player is their own personal performance, so what people think about it at the end of the day, you either use it in a positive way or you just don’t listen to it. You need to be self critical about your own performances, as I have been at many times. I watched the Ireland game many times and even the own goal I scored I still watch. I laugh about it now but at the time it was very frustrating.”

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Credit: C Correa Photography

Jordan Perez reflected on his heroic display against Gibraltar, “For me it was a personal task, I had to prove certain people that what they did to me was a big mistake and at the same time I was thanking them for making me realise that I had a lot more in me to show as a goalkeeper. I made a big decision about leaving Lincoln after so many years at that club and join Lions. It helped me a lot as I was training with Jeff Wood a lot who was the Lions manager at the time, and being at the back foot of a team that wasn’t that good in the league, I progressed as a goalkeeper. When I got to the Germany game I thought to myself that it’s now or never, I need to bring out the best performance I can for at least forty five minutes, because we know what happens after that, the other team steps up and we lower our gear. I was so concentrated that I didn’t even realise that we had fans watching us, it was just the football and the twenty-one other players on the pitch. The standout moment was saving Bastian Schweinsteiger’s penalty as not a lot of keepers can say they have saved the captain of the World Champion’s penalty. That is something I’d tell my grandchildren about for the rest of my life and it is always something I can say that I did.”

On a personal level, Jordan Perez reflected on the lessons he learnt from the tournament, “The physical and mental state has to change drastically. We’ve all changed our diets, training plans and our lifestyle. We don’t do what we used to do when you go out on a Friday night and play on a Saturday, that’s a no gamer for us anymore. We have realised that type of level these professionals are at and that’s why they get paid so much, they’ve been brought up through that regime since a very young age and obviously after they play a game, they fly back to their country and train with the best players and coaches around. While on the other hand we come back and we go back to work so we need to put in that extra effort and train that bit harder to get close to that level.” 

The next Euro tournament is in three years, at the time Perez will be 30/31 years old, we asked if he sees himself as Gibraltar’s number one as his rival Jamie Robba will be in his mid 20’s, “If I don’t see myself as number one I will most definitely not be there, I am in the frame of mind that I will continue to fight for my spot until I retire. Obviously with goalkeepers the older they get the more experienced they get so it’s a great situation to be in to help players. At the same time having someone like Jamie Robba knocking on my door keeps me motivated and in shape but I will give it my best shot and fight for my position for as long as it takes.”

11990433_10153277042718882_1628280249000746088_nAs we stated earlier that the next tournament is in three years, we asked how badly affected he thinks the squad will be when Lee Casciaro, Roy Chipolina etc retire internationally, “Definitely, that’s a big worry. To be honest there are only a handful of youngsters that could step up to that challenge. I don’t see the hunger in the youngsters nowadays like there used to be ten years ago when there was no money to collect, it was just a hobby. I think the national squad is going to suffer humongously and the number of foreign players in our league isn’t going to help at all. As for the development of kids I think we need to bring in managers from abroad with high qualifications, either to help local managers or to make a good setup of kids to develop them. Once the big names leave I think we have a big job of replacing them.”

Perez gave us an insight of the change of managers throughout the tournament affected the team, “Tricky questions, we need to remember that we only just started at this level and no matter how many managers you bring along, it is going to be very difficult to change the team. Although recently with Dave Wilson in Scotland and Jeff Wood recently, we have seen a vast improvement in the way the players tried to 12009764_10153277043168882_6236682525705477970_napproach the game with the confidence they have, and there is much more tranquility in the camp. Players are more relaxed in the sense that they have the full backing of the manager, which has helped develop and motivate the team to be better than we were.  

Lastly Perez spoke on his ambitions for the future, “I think there should be a complete restructure of the way the league is going ahead in Gibraltar. I welcome the influx of foreign players as it is going to improve our league but there are many players coming from abroad that I don’t see as being better than what we have locally. At the same time though the local players have thrown the towel away and don’t want to compete. They just want to go and play in the Second Division and just play for fun but at least I think there should be some sort of cap on how many foreign players you can have on the pitch at one time, like many other small nations have done.”


Football Gibraltar would like to thank Jordan Perez for his time and wish him the best of luck for the future.

 

 

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Match Report: Croatia 4-1 Gibraltar

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. 

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Clinton: “The feeling was incredible”

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.

 

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Preview: Gibraltar vs Scotland

Scotland will head into the final game of Euro 2016 qualifying against Gibraltar knowing that their dream of reaching the tournament is over. Gibraltar are still aiming to collect their first point in Group D as they prepare to meet a side trying to finish an ultimately frustrating campaign on a high.


Gibraltar 

Football - Scotland v Gibraltar - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D - Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland - 29/3/15  Lee Casciaro celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Gibraltar  Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers  Livepic  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. ORG XMIT: UKV3aB

It was a familiar feeling for Gibraltar on Wednesday night as they slipped to yet another emphatic loss in the penultimate fixture of their first qualifying campaign as an official member of FIFA. Much like their previous performances in Group D, there was plenty of determination and stubbornness displayed by a team made up of mainly part-timers, but they were unable to avoid a 4-0 loss to Georgia.

Ten successive defeats were certainly expected for Jeff Wood and his players, but there will be an eagerness to end the campaign on a high when they take on a Scotland side still hurting from their disappointment in midweek.In truth, this campaign has been a learning process for the smallest nation in the competition, and although a positive result may still be far away, Wood will be desperate for his side to be resilient at the back as they look to offer signs that they could be a potential banana skin in the future.


 

Scotland 

Many followers of Gordon Strachan’s side would have booked their tickets for the trip to Gibraltar’s second home in the Algarve full of optimism a while back, but they will travel with a frustrated feeling after being dealt a cruel blow in their bid to reach next summer’s tournament.

6ca3b7f0-2f95-43e5-9d4f-ff533c4e9c93After hitting back with goals from Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher against Poland, it looked like Scotland would be in with a shout heading into the final game before Robert Lewandowski struck for the second time at Hampden Park to earn a 2-2 draw for the visitors.

The result left the Tartan Army in fourth place, six points behind both Poland and Republic of Ireland as their hopes of a playoff spot were dashed in stoppage time, but fans and players will look further back for the reason behind their disappointment.

Scotland will be without Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths and his club-mate Charlie Mulgrew. Midfielders James McArthur and James Morrison, of Crystal Palace and West Brom respectively, and Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes also miss out.


 

Gibraltar take on Scotland tomorrow at 20:45 and you can follow the game on our Twitter @FGScoreCentre.

 

 

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Jeff Wood names 23-man Gibraltar squad

Gibraltar manager Jeff Wood named his final 23-man squad for the games against Poland and Scotland today, with some of Wood’s decisions causing strong debate with the local football community.

Goalkeepers stay the same with Perez, Robba & Neale keeping their place. With UEFA requiring three keepers are registered in a squad, only injury would have seen any of the three miss out on this squad, and it seems Wood is settled on this particular trio for the time being.

The only change in defence sees Jack Sergeant miss out, after not fully recovering from an injury he picked up against Ireland. Sergeant played for Manchester in the 2-2 draw against Lynx last Friday, but failed to make the cut for this squad, so the 20-year-old will not be able to add to his nine caps for the national team.

The midfield is where Wood’s decisions have caused the most debate and discussion., Jeremy Lopez yesterday pulled out of the squad after stating “he didn’t deserve the call-up”. Aaron Payas pulled out again due to personal reasons, which meant Manchester 62 veteran Daniel Duarte was called up to the national team for the first time since March. Jesse Victory was another player who makes up the unlucky four to be cut from the squad.

A lot of hype was placed around Lions’ Evan Green when he was announced in the 27-man squad, and many believed that Green deserved a place in the final squad. Despite this, he was the sole attacker not to make the team, with the likes of Mikey Yome and Jamie Coombes making the cut.  George Cabrera stays in the squad despite a long injury layout, while the likes of Lee Casciaro, Kyle Casciaro and JP Duarte made the team as expected.

With players like Adam Priestley and Scott Wiseman missing the squad due to fitness concerns, and a host of other players simply not making the cut, the current crop of players will have to ensure they perform to the best of their abilities if they want to remain in the national team for future games.


As seems to be the case nowadays, the Gibraltar selection process has surprised many people, who will no doubt question the inclusion of players who have had less than ideal amounts of game time in recent months.  Jeff Wood will no doubt be happy with his selections, and will be able to give detailed explanations for every player he’s picked, but at the same time today’s squad will not dispel the theories of a growing number of people that the national team is picked on reputation over form.

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Consigliero, Victor & Jolley named in Gibraltar squad

This afternoon Gibraltar manager Terrence Jolley announced his U19 squad to play France, Netherlands and Liechtenstein in the UEFA Euro U19 qualifiers, held in France. Terrence also appointed Lynx FC defender Ethan Jolley as captain & Lions Gibraltar FC defender Jayce Olivero as vice-captain. We caught up with the trio as they reflected on their call-ups and their views ahead of the tournament.


Ethan said, “It feels good getting selected for the squad as international level is very high especially playing versus two of the biggest teams in the world. Also being captain is an honour as it plays a big part in the 1390711_10200894634952959_34681488_nteam as I am seen as a leader which helps me adapt to become a bigger player. Representing my national side is already a privilege but getting the captains armband is on another level.”

Ethan hasn’t had the best of last seasons as the defender struggled to get into the Lincoln starting line-up and has now moved to Lynx FC on loan for this season, Ethan gave us an insight into how he feels heading into the tournament, “Personally I feel good as I have been training non stop and have worked hard mainly for this tournament as it could be the last tournament I get picked for. I feel motivated and want to achieve the best outcome possible but not only for myself but for Gibraltar. I also feel fit and ready mentally wise as I’ve been to two of these tournaments and know what it’s like to play top teams like England and Switzerland so I am ready for the next game and hopefully can get a good outcome.”


11222226_453563908137547_2357707762772870454_nTerrence also handed a call-up Europa FC keeper Jake Victor, “I am over the moon! I have worked really hard to improve my skill set over the last 2-3 years. Training within a very professional environment and beside top keepers over last two years at Europa FC has been great. I need to thank Jeremy Judd for his help during the coaching sessions which have been very important for my progression. Now its time to work even harder!”

Jake Victor will be battling with Bradley Banda to be selected as the number one keeper, we asked him what he hopes to achieve in this tournament, “I hope to enjoy the experience and learn as much as possible from it. We are playing top nations so it will be a real test for all of us. I can’t wait!”


Lastly we caught up with Red Imps midfielder Jayce Consigliero, “I feel extremely proud on being selected 12032966_1497893427175582_6510597866738525924_nfor the Under 19’s and representing our hometown Gibraltar once again. I am also excited on the group as we have got a harder group than last time meaning all the games will be a lot more difficult so we will be gaining vital experience from it.”

Jayce scored in the last tournament against Ireland when they lost 4-1, we asked if he’ll be hoping to do the same again this time, “The feeling i got when i scored against Ireland cannot be explained. If i’m able to do the same this time against Holland or France, that will be a dream come true.”


Football Gibraltar would like to thank Ethan Jolley, Jake Victor & Jayce Consigliero for their time and wish them the best of luck for the tournament.