A footballing baptism of fire befell UEFA’s newest member in Gibraltar’s first ever qualifier with Poland. Now as they head for Dublin with their largest away support contingent, Daniel Griffin of footballgibraltar gives us the view from Ireland’s fast-learning visitors.
When looking at the result from the game against Poland, 7-0 obviously looks like a massive thrashing. Had it not been for a mad 15-minute spell at the start of the second half, where Poland netted four goals, the scoreline would have been far more respectable.
Obviously this is something that head coach Allen Bula will be looking to ensure doesn’t happen at the Aviva, and as such Gibraltar might not approach the game with quite as open a game-plan as they attempted against the Poles. Some of that was down to the way the players are brought up to play the game, while a part of it comes down to naivety in terms of playing much bigger opponents.
For the fans, the qualifying campaign has so far been a great experience, despite the scoreline last month. Around 800 supporters made the eight-hour round trip for the Poland match; the Ireland game will most likely be one of the best attended matches in terms of away support. With Ireland being reasonably easy to get to from Gibraltar, there should be a few hundred away fans enjoying the game and giving their support for 90 minutes, regardless of the score.
As for the match in question, obviously Ireland are massive favourites, and deserve to be. No one in Gibraltar is under any illusions as to the task ahead, and most people will accept that a home win will most likely be the final outcome. However, if the team can replicate the first 45 minutes against Poland over the course of a whole match, then Ireland probably won’t get the massive win that some of their fans might expect, or hope for in terms of goal difference.
Video: Reprezentacja Polski [Historia] / Poland National Team [History] Image: @GibraltarFA