Last Saturday marked a low point in Faroese national team results. The 2-1 loss against a Maltese team ranked 87 places below the Faroese Islands is akin to Cyprus beating France in terms of world rankings.
Despite Malta having a population eight times bigger than the Faroe Islands, on paper the Faroese posed a superior team, with the Maltese squad containing just one professional footballer. But take nothing away from the Malta team, who was simply more up for the game and started a lot quicker than the lethargic Faroese team.
The criticism is built on the fact that this crop of players is the best the country has ever produced and as such results and expectations have risen. To accept anything less than a win against Malta would be a dramatic step backwards.
A certain amount of sympathy can be felt for the Faroe Islands; they were missing there talismanic best player Joan Simun Edmundsson, who dropped out right at the last minute, and any team missing there best player will feel a adverse affect, let alone a country of just 50,000 people. Equally as important was the absence of Sonni Nattestad.
Færø and Gregersen simply do no have the pace that Nattestad has, which makes the team a lot of vulnerable to the counter attack (as shown in the Malta penalty). However these reasons can not be used as a excuse for an overall ponderous and abject display, which managed just three (3!!) shots on target.
A couple of positives were apparent, such as the first senior international goal for Jakup Thomsen, who worked hard all game with limited service. And the game showcased the talent of Hallur Hansson who was head and shoulders above any other player on the field. Another striking thing of Hallur was his passion and noticeable disappointment when thanking the fans at the end. In the days of sterile modern football, this was a noble act, and its a shame that not every member of the squad followed his suit. But other than that there was little else to write home about.
Tuesday’s game against Romania marks a huge game for Lars Olsen’s team, who himself faces immense growing pressure, following several comments on social media calling for him to leave his post, and some recent disappointing results. A win against Romania is not expected, but if the Faroe Islands don’t improve on the Malta performance, than it could result in an embarrassing scoreline.