A warm early September afternoon at the Victoria Stadium saw Gibraltar’s National Team record their fifth ever international win by beating San Marino 1-0 in matchday one of the second edition of the UEFA Nations League.
Ever since the Nations League draw in Amsterdam earlier this year, when Gibraltar were drawn in a group of three in League D, alongside San Marino and Liechtenstein, there has been an air of expectancy. From the moment Gibraltar joined UEFA these are the types of internationals that so many have been craving. The European Qualifiers provide great learning opportunities for Head Coach Julio Ribas to develop his players and get them used to international football. The Nations League however is a totally different beast. Competitive international football against opposition who can be beaten.
Pre Match many made Gibraltar favourites, especially playing at home (albeit behind closed doors) and being the seeded team in the group. Head Coach Julio Ribas played this down saying that his team would be treating this as if it was a ‘cup final’ and would not take anything for granted.
From the moment the teams were announced, 90 minutes before kick-off, it was clear that this was going to be anything but an open game. San Marino has signalled their intent by playing five at the back with captain Simoncini at the heart of their defence. Julio Ribas gave Graeme Torrilla his international debut after over a year out with a knee injury, and Scott Wiseman returned to add strength and experience at right back.