By Georgios Tontos
New year, new goals and challenges for the sport of Gibraltar, and especially for the sport that has made the country proud in recent years and put them on the European map. This could only be football, after the recent successes of our national team and its general presence for the last four years, bringing victories to the Rock.
It was inevitable that success would be had by Gibraltar, from the team created by the Uruguayan coach Ribas, after the victories in Armenia and Liechtenstein. The reward came two years later.
After defeats in official matches against strong opponents, Gibraltar managed to take first place in their group of the Nations League, quite rightly, as it was the best team against San Marino and Liechtenstein.
Gibraltar played effectively without losing a single game, and this gave them dominance in the group, having two wins and two draws. They showed self-confidence in every match, which was different compared to previous years. The most important thing now is that they have orientation and identity in the field, a plan, and the right tactics, which can only bring more positive results.
There is a lot of talent on the Rock, with the new generation adapting to the conditions, and players like Ronan and Torilla having their whole future ahead of them. Their recent achievements in the Nations League gave the team a more favourable but quite difficult draw for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Qatar.
Gibraltar will face Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Montenegro in double matches to qualify for the World Cup. Undoubtedly a very competitive and interesting group. In the process, Gibraltar will gain a lot of experience and become stronger for future matches. Qualifying may seem an impossible task with great teams like Holland and Norway fighting for the qualifying ticket. The most important thing for Julio Ribas’ team is the decent participation in all the games, achieving the best outcome they can. They will go up against with Montenegro, being the weakest teams. The most important thing is that for another year, big national teams are coming to the country, something that gives us the opportunity to see some great football.
By the time they broke for Christmas, St Joseph’s were top of the table. The team was consistent, taking advantage of the ups and downs of Europa and Lincoln, ending up at the top with 22 points. They felt the threat of their opponents, making the championship highly competitive. However, the new year hasn’t started off in the best way, as the Gibraltar National League was suspended indefinitely after the announcement of a lockdown.