Having joined FIFA in May this year, Gibraltar played their first FIFA sanctioned matches this month. In losing a friendly to the European Champions Portugal (0-5), and their first ever World Cup qualifier to Greece (1-4) a few days later, Gibraltar have taken their place at the bottom of the World Rankings.
It wasn’t an unexpected outcome given the opposition Gibraltar faced in those two September games, but there must be more than a twinge of frustration for the Gibraltarians at being dumped at the bottom of the world rankings.
Since joining UEFA in 2013, Gibraltar secured some impressive results amidst the more frequent defeats. They began with a 0-0 draw against Slovakia, and have drawn away in Estonia and beaten Malta at home, all in friendlies within their first year of UEFA membership. More recently they grabbed another draw at home to Liechtenstein in a friendly played in their scenic home stadium.
But that was all before FIFA membership was secured, and so has no bearing at all on the world rankings.
On the plus side, their European location does guarantee a regular supply of fixtures, with World Cup qualifying under way. Even if that campaign ends without a point, there is the prospect of a few friendly internationals and in two year’s time the UEFA Nations League. That latter competition will pit Gibraltar against Europe’s other smaller nations and will surely provide the means for Gibraltar to secure some ranking points if they haven’t done so before then.
We will look at Gibraltar, it’s football and it’s national team, a little more ahead of their first Worst in the World fixture in October. Their opposition, and venue, being one they have happy memories of as they face Estonia in Tallinn.
Gibraltar’s remaining World Cup Qualifying Fixtures:
7th October Estonia (away)
10th October Belgium (home)
13th November Cyprus (away)
25th March Bosnia-Herzegovina (away)
9th June Cyprus (home)
31st August Belgium (away)
3rd September Bosnia-Herzegovina (home)
7th October Estonia (home)
10th October Greece (away)