Gibraltar have made headlines in the football world again, defeating Liechtenstein 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League overnight. It was their second win this week, putting them on a two-game winning streak this international break.

The win was their third of 2018. Their first came in March, where they defeated Latvia 1-0 in a friendly – former Portsmouth player Liam Walker scoring the only goal. A famous moment in their history that no doubt would have sent the fans wild.

Their second victory came over the weekend – a 1-0 win away to Armenia in the Nations League. Vice-captain Joseph Chipolina converted a penalty in the 50th minute and despite only having 22% of possession and conceding 35 shots, Gibraltar held their own and grinded out the win that sees them in second place in their group.

Last night’s match saw Gibraltar fight back from 1-0 down, with Chipolina again scoring as well as striker George Cabrera finding the net.

Their manager, Julio Cesar Ribas, has managed the Oman national team and Uruguayan side Penarol in the Primera Division Uruguaya. He does have some experience under his belt.

The territory with a population of just over 32,000 features several players who are not full-time professionals.

When veteran forward Lee Casciaro is not scoring goals for his national side, he works as a policeman for the Gibraltar Defence Police, as does his brother Ryan. His other brother Kyle also works as a shipping agent. Captain Roy Chipolina, the brother of Joseph, is a customs officer.  Despite a number not being full-time footballers, they have done well to record three wins this year.

It is not the first time however that a team from Gibraltar has been victorious.

In arguably the most famous result in Gibraltar football history, league side Lincoln Red Imps defeated Scottish powerhouse Celtic in a second qualifying round UEFA Champions League match in July 2016. Lee Casciaro scored the only goal of the match and it has been described as the biggest shock in European football.

The implementation of the Nations League has had a positive impact on the lower-ranked European nations, as they are able to play competitive matches against opposition of similar levels, reducing the likelihood of drubbings against much stronger nations.

Gibraltar’s remaining Nations League matches are of great interest. Should they continue with their string of impressive results, they are every chance of being promoted to League C.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com