UEFA Nations League has come to a close and the Faroe Islands were unable to win the final match against Malta away from home on 20 November.
Rene “Shaki” Joensen gave the Faroes an early lead after a cross from Gilli Rolantsson was headed into the far corner.
Unfortunately for the Faroes, one minute later Malta equalized through Juan Carlos Corbalan after a mix-up in the midfield led to a goal scoring opportunity.
Gunnar Nielsen made a save but he was beaten on the rebound at the near post.
Many Faroese football supporters were disappointed with the end result of Nations League because better results were expected.
A win, two draws, and three losses are what the Faroes accomplished after two meetings with Kosovo, Azerbaijan, and Malta.
The Faroese supporters expected more due to the progress that was made during qualification for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018.
In all honesty, I understand the frustration of the Faroese supporters.
Yet this is a team that is still getting better and inconsistency is going to happen with a squad that semi-professional footballers.
But aside from the inconsistencies, problems need to be addressed by manager Lars Olsen.
At fifty caps, Gunnar Nielsen has been between the posts for the Faroes for nearly ten years.
But Nielsen has allowed soft goals on more than one occasion and football experts have been quick to point out his problems with positioning.
But there is not much depth available at the goalkeeper position for the Faroe Islands. Is Lars Olsen ready to give the starting job to Teitur Gestsson of domestic-based club Havnar Boltfelag?
Ready or not, Olsen must make a decision quickly because Euro 2020 qualification starts in March 2019.
Formation and Strategy
Before pointing fingers, it is important to realize that Olsen has been working hard to make things right for his squad.
But we have also seen breakdowns in defense and problems in midfield.
Faroese journalist Sigurjon Einarsson recently noted that the Faroese footballers had trouble connecting passes against Azerbaijan in Baku and were unable to get a shot on target.
During Nations League play, Einarsson also pointed out that Olsen alternated his personnel by playing a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-3 formation.
The fact of the matter is that Lars Olsen does not have midfielders that are plying their trade in top European leagues.
But he has experienced midfielders in foreign-based players Joan Simun Edmundsson, Gilli Rolantsson, Rogvi Baldvinsson, and Kaj Leo i Bartalsstovu.
All four players can play on the wings, but the formation needs to be consistent.
The 4-2-3-1 is a good formation for Olsen’s men on the attack, but the five midfielders need to close down the space when defending.
It is not pretty football, but the Faroes must play compact and park the bus to wear down their opponents and strike on counterattacks.
The Faroe Islands have come a long way, but more progress can be made with the right formation and strategy.
This article was originally published on Nationsleaguefootball.wordpress.com