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Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeSportsCzechia 1-0 Faroe Islands: Valiant in defeat

Czechia 1-0 Faroe Islands: Valiant in defeat

The Faroe Islands were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Czechia in a valiant performance in Plzeň. Despite being the nation’s seventh loss in a row, Landsliðið can take plenty of pride in their display, which saw them level for three-quarters of the contest against a country ranked 37th in the world.

In terms of team news, coach Håkan Ericson made four changes from Thursday’s defeat to Poland and opted to switch to a 3-4-3 formation, with Andrias Edmundsson making his first competitive start for the national team (congrats Andrias!) and Sonni Nattestad coming in to partner Odmar Færø at the back, Viljormur Davidsen and René Shaki Joensen supporting in the full-back roles, Brandur Olsen and Jákup Andreasen in the middle, Ári Mohr Jónsson deputizing on the left-wing for his first start in six games, with Sølvi Vatnhamar on the other, and Pætur Petersen up top, to also mark his first competitive start for the national team (congrats Pætur!)

The Faroes delivered one of their recent trademark sloppy starts and were fortunate not to be behind within the first three minutes when Czech midfielder Michal Sadílek’s long-range effort crashed against the bar. 10 minutes later, Faroese goalkeeper Mattias Lamhauge made a great save to keep out Ondřej Lingr’s goalbound header. This was followed by another effort hitting the woodwork, this time through Adam Hložek’s free-kick from the edge of the box, as the Faroese goal led a charmed life.

Many positives

The away side did settle down somewhat after that and saw themselves head into half-time with the scores level.

Minutes after the restart, defender Sonni Nattestad produced the Faroes’ one and only effort on target after some neat build-up play saw him head straight at Czech keeper Aleš Mandous from an Odmar Færø cross.

With 15 minutes to go and just as the away side was starting to dream of a historic point, disaster struck as Færø handled the ball in the box while trying to slide in to block a cross. Tomas Soucek converted the resulting penalty, cooly slotting the ball down the middle of the goal.

As the Faroes threw caution to the wind and brought on more attacking players in the hopes of an equalizer, they were nearly rewarded when Sølvi Vatnhamar was put clear through on goal, but he wrongly elected to cross when he was in a better position to shoot. It was the premium chance the Faroes were hoping for, and sadly, no better opportunities could be produced as the match drifted to another defeat for the Faroes Islands. However, unlike other recent losses, many positives can be taken from this performance against a country who haven’t lost at home in over a year.

Here are my player ratings:

23) Mattias Lamhauge — 8/10
3) Viljormur Davidsen — 7.5/10 (C)
5) Sonni Nattestad — 8/10
15) Odmar Færø — 8/10
6) Andrias Edmundsson — 8.5/10 (MOTM)
20) René Shaki Joensen — 7.5/10
22) Jákup Andreasen — 6/10
8) Brandur Olsen — 7/10
7) Ári Mohr Jónsson — 6.5/10
10) Sølvi Vatnhamar — 6/10
4) Pætur Petersen — 7/10
7) Jóannes Bjartalíð (58th minute for Ári Mohr Jónsson) — 7/10
9) Jóan Símun Edmundsson (77th minute for Pætur Petersen) — N/A
21) Andrass Johansen (84th minute for Sølvi Vatnhamar) — N/A
11) Klæmint Olsen (84th minute for Jákup Andreasen) — N/A
19) Ári Mohr Jónsson (76th minute for Brandur Olsen) — N/A

Coach Håkan Ericson — 7/10. Much better defensive set-up and formation (it was the first game in five where we haven’t conceded two or more goals), largely in part due to the inclusion of Sonni Nattestad and Andrias Edmundsson, who have both certainly staked their claim for more game time.

‘Good performance’

With just two games in 2023 remaining, it could be a whole calendar year without victory for Håkan, and the squad has stagnated somewhat. If we are to see progress next year, including more untried players like Edmundsson is required. As the Under-21’s recent escapades have shown, real talent is coming through, and the next generation deserves a true opportunity to step up to the senior team.

After the game, Andrias Edmundsson noted: “It was a difficult game, where we tried to defend the goal with everything we had, but unfortunately, that didn’t give us a point this time.”

Reflecting on making his senior international competitive debut, Edmundsson remarked: “It feels incredible because I’ve worked all my life for it and I think it’s the biggest thing a footballer can do is to play for his country.”

Captain Viljormur Davidsen added, “It was a hard game; in the first half, we were under a lot of pressure and were only defending, but after we survived with 0-0 in the first half, we spoke about needing to keep the ball more but also still defend good and keep the game alive. But then Czech Republic got a penalty and scored to make it 1-0, and we tried everything that we could to get the 1-1 goal. Sadly, we were not clinical enough when we got the chance. The second half was much better than the first half because we had the ball more and were calmer. But it was a big fight from the team and a good performance as a team. But the result was not want we wanted.”

Next up for the Faroe Islands is an away friendly match to Norway on the 16th of November, who possess the likes of Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard (pray for us!).

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