By Georgios Tontos
NEW CHALLENGES FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM
Sports activities have been postponed since the beginning of last month, due to the spread of the virus, with football particularly affected as there is no activity in the country’s championship, with athletes being left out of training. However, this month is expected to be very interesting, with restrictions lifting and our national team’s matches against Norway (24/3 home) and Montenegro (27/3 away) for the World Cup qualifiers.
Julio Ribas’ team, who secured first place in their group in the Nations League, is gearing up to face Norway in a fight for fourth place. Liam Walker, Lee Casciaro and Scott Wiseman are among the most experienced players, who are expected to lead the national team to the best result possible. Continuous participation in major European matches over the last two years will surely aid them in this attempt.
The other four opponents for Gibraltar are the Netherlands, Turkey, Montenegro and Latvia, proving the group’s competitiveness.
VICTORIA STADIUM CONFIRMED TO HOST GIBRALTAR’S HOME WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
The Gibraltar FA have confirmed that UEFA have granted dispensation for Gibraltar to host their 2022 World Cup Qualifying home matches at the Victoria Stadium. The construction of a new national stadium, which was planned to start in 2020, was delayed understandably due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the current Victoria Stadium falling short of UEFA’s minimum requirements to host official international matches, the GFA had to apply to UEFA to extend their exemption which allowed Gibraltar to host the Nations League in 2020, to cover the upcoming home World Cup Qualifiers (footballgibraltar.com). This gives the national team the right to host big opponents, with Norway and the Netherlands first this month.
Without a doubt, the Vikings claim first place within the group together with the Netherlands, having the greatest market value (75 million). Erling Haaland is Borrusia Dortmund’s big star, and has had an amazing year, as has Alexander Sørloth of RB Leipzig. This is an attacking team, playing for the victory from the very first minute, relying on all its key players’ tactics in the offensive line.
Gibraltar’s last experience in the World Cup qualifiers was painful, with ten defeats, the last being from Greece (4-0, 2017). Let’s hope things are very different this time!
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