Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Salt Bae. Mezut Ozil. Ahmet Ertegun. Orhan Pamuk. Suleiman the Magnificent. We’ve beaten them all! Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can you hear me? Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we have a message for you. Your boys took a hell of a beating!
Yes, you’re reading correctly, your eyes are not deceiving you; the diminutive Faroe Islands just beat former World Cup semi-finalists Türkiye 2-1 at home, thanks to second half goals from Viljormur Davidsen and Jóan Símun Edmundsson.
A nation currently ranked a towering 83 FIFA places higher. A nation with 1610 times the population of the Faroes. A nation with 136 provinces alone bigger in inhabitants than the 54,000 hearty souls from the Faroe Islands. But tonight, all these realities didn’t matter, it was all about the 11v11 men on the pitch — and boy, these courageous Faroese lads know how to pull off the impossible. A truly incredible performance to a man, one which will go down in Faroese footballing folklore!
In team news, Håkan Ericson made 3 changes from the 1-1 draw in Lithuania on Thursday, with Teitur Gestsson, Heini Vatnsdal, and Sølvi Vatnhamar coming in for Gunnar Nielsen, Hørður Askham, and Klæmint Olsen. In addition, Ericson switched to a 4-5-1 formation from 4-4-2 as the home side looked to pack out the midfield.
Most significant win
The opening minutes were an even and scrappy affair on September 25th as both sides cancelled each other out, with the first shot at goal not coming until the 28th minute, with a tame effort at goalkeeper Teitur Gestsson. Ironically, the first Faroese effort came seconds later when winger Meinhard Olsen’s speculative effort dragged wide of the Türkiye goal. Türkiye did have the ball in the net just before half-time, but it was rightly called for offside, as the teams went into the break honours even, neither remotely prepared for what was about to unfold.
Just 6 minutes after half-time, the Faroe Islands took the lead when left-back Viljormur Davidsen drove the ball home, albeit with the help of a deflection from just inside the box after an intelligent run and cross from midfielder Sølvi Vatnhamar. Jubilation ensued from the hearty 2,000 or so fans inside Tórsvøllur.
8 minutes later, things got even better when striker Jóan Símun Edmundsson produced an exquisite chip finish over the helpless keeper Altay Bayındır from a tight angle after an inch-perfect through ball from midfielder Jákup Andreasen. The crowd, players, and everyone associated with the side entered cloud nine.
It was almost 3, when Bayındır fumbled the ball from a Gilli Rólantsson cross into the path of Meinhard Olsen, who just couldn’t turn and shoot to punish the mistake.
The rest of the game was a story of Faroese resilience and defending, which was successful until the 89th minute when Türkiye substitute Serdar Gürler volleyed the ball past Gestsson, who would have been disappointed to have let the ball through him. The first blot on a near-perfect display from the home side.
The officials showed an enduring 5 minutes of stoppage time, which went by like an eternity; despite this, the Faroese players showed great discipline and calmness to see the game out. And in truth, even in those 5 lengthy minutes, destiny had already been written; there was only ever going to be one winner.
The full-time whistle was met with euphoria from players and fans alike, a well-deserved historic victory. Every Faroese player fought tooth and nail for the win and did not give Türkiye an inch of space. Giving everything and more on the pitch. It was the nation’s most significant win since Greece in 2015, if not one of the greatest in the country’s history, and will live long in every spectator’s memory.
Impressive 8 points
Here are my player ratings; heads up, no MOTM; all 11 get the award:
12) Teitur Gestsson: 9.9/10 — Gifted them a goal to make it a nervous final 5. Other than that, Neuer in goal.
14) Gilli Rólantsson: 10/10 — Cafu down the right.
14) Heini Vatnsdal:10/10 — Maldini at the back.
16) Gunnar Vatnhamar: 10/10— Nesta at the back.
3) Viljormur Davidsen (C): 10/10 — Roberto Carlos at left-back, what a finish too (was going in regardless of deflection).
7) Jóannes Bjartalíð: 10/10— Robben on the right-wing. Extra credit to this guy for turning his national career around in recent times, a spectacular turnaround.
10) Sølvi Vatnhamar: 10/10 — Kaka in the middle of the park, guys ageing like a fine wine, stunning assist for the opening goal too.
20) René Shaki Joensen: 10/10 — Modric in the middle of the park.
22) Jákup Andreasen: 10/10 — Vieira at the heart of the midfield; what an assist as well. The guy is a warrior!
18) Meinhard Olsen: 10/10 — Nedved on the wing from El Tigre.
9) Jóan Símun Edmundsson: 10/10 — Worth the four-year wait for a national team goal from the Faroese George Best.
2) Mads Boe Mikkelsen (for René Shaki Joensen 57th Minute): 10/10 — Wow, what a future this kid has; only his fifth senior cap, and he looked like prime Maradona!
11) Klæmint Olsen (for Jóan Símun Edmundsson 73rd minute): 10/10 — Ibra like hold-up play from the soon-to-be Faroese all-time top international goalscorer.
21) Patrik Johannesen (for Meinhard Olsen 94 minute): N/A — Didn’t get a touch, but still looked like peak Raúl.
Coach Håkan Ericson: 10/10 — Tactics like Guardiola, excellent formation switch, and subbed at the perfect moments. Extra credit for the celebratory cartwheel, not bad for 62!
After the game I spoke with captain and opening goal scorer Viljormur Davidsen, who stated: “This victory is fantastic! What a night! We deserved to win and it was a great performance for all of us. We follow the game plan all the way, we wanted to show them that this was our home ground from the start of the game and press them high. We played fantastic tonight!”
A 2-1 victory is the perfect way to end a successful Nations League Campaign, where we managed an impressive 8 points overall and division survival.
Anyone affiliated with the Faroe Islands, cherish and enjoy this victory and moment; we don’t get as many as other countries, but when we do, boy, it’s worth it!
The numerous defeats, goals conceded, and belittlement now fades into oblivion.