On the back of Thursday’s dramatic 3-2 win against Malta, the Faroese players now travel to the Iberian Peninsula to face Andorra. Who themselves secured a respectable draw away to Latvia in their previous match.
However, preparations have been far from ideal, with the news that experienced first-choice goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen is unavailable due to his domestic club FH requesting him back, so that he can be allowed to play in the upcoming Icelandic League fixture.
Leaving Hakan Ericson with a dilemma of who to choose in goal, between Teitur Gestsson, Tórður Thomsen and Kristian Joensen. With just 7 caps among them all for the national side, showing their widespread inexperience at international level. Teitur Gestsson is favourite to take Nielsen’s place in goal, and he will have to be alert against an Andorra side whose primary source of attacking threat is through set-pieces.
Akin to Malta, Andorra’s national team have been taking small steps forward in recent times, with just 2 losses out of 9 in 2018 (albeit the remaining 7 games were all draws!). As well as an impressive home win against Moldova last year.
However, there were some surprises when their squad for the upcoming fixture was announced, with the inspirational captain, record appearance maker and goalscorer Ildefons Lima left out (remarkably the country’s top goalscorer is a centre-back!!). Lima also holds the world record for having the longest international career in men’s football. The towering centre-back will be one less problem to deal with at both ends of the pitch for the Faroe Islands. Also missing is one of the country’s best players, Joan Cervós, due to the COVID-19 situation in America, where he currently plays.
Nonetheless, Andorra still has a few dangerous players in their ranks, notably midfielders Marc Rebésm Marc Valesm and winger Cristian Martínez. In addition, the ‘Estadi Nacional’ artificial pitch is not the easiest surface to play a passing game on (look up Gareth Bale quote to prove the point), with the last time the 2 nations met here ending in a 0-0 draw, in truly one of the worst games of football you are likely to witness if you were unlucky enough to have watched it!
‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, is an applicable saying after a win, but sadly with Gunnar missing, at least 1 change from the starting 11 against Malta will have to take place, but other than that, I see little rotation in the Faroese line-up. Harsh on Lava Olsen whose goal sparked the comeback against Malta, but it would be impossible to drop Klæmint Olsen after his impressive display on Thursday, I predict the following line up:
For me, influential midfielders Hansson and Hendriksson Olsen hold the key to victory, if they play well together with their superior vision and creativity, this Faroese side will create a lot of chances. Additionally, defensively, the Faroes will have to improve against better, and more physical opposition. Before the match, I spoke to Hallur Hansson, and when asked about the upcoming fixture stated “We are ready for Andorra. We know what we are up against and we have prepared for it. This will be as much a mental test as it will be a physical one and a very tough game as well. But we are ready!”