Winning is all that matters... that’s the Faroe Islands coach’s mantra for tonight’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta, in Torshavn (kick-off: 20.45).
The Nordic side head into the game bottom of Group F and are craving for a victory to avoid the wooden spoon.
In addition, they also want to make amends for their disappointing 2-1 defeat suffered at the National Stadium when both teams met in their group opener, last March.
“If we don’t beat Malta, it would be a step back for the growth of the Faroese game and obviously we would deem this qualifying campaign as a failure,” coach Lars Olsen told a news conference.
The Faroes headed into the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in high spirits after chalking up a record nine points in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Thus finishing their commitments in Group F without a point would be a major failure for the Faroese side.
Last Saturday, the Faroese were made to pay for their missed chances against Romania as the Eastern Europeans netted three times late in the match to take all three points.
Nonetheless, it was a performance that injected confidence inside the Faroes Islands team as coach Olsen echoed.
“Last Saturday, we played decent against Romania but at the end we still fell to a 3-0 defeat,” Olsen pointed out.
“In addition, we also have a suspended player (Gilli Rolantsson) and have some doubts about other injured players (Brandur Olsen and Rogvi Baldvinsson) about whom we will make a final decision tomorrow (today).”
Olsen, Euro 1992 winner with Denmark, has urged his players to be more clinical if they are to beat Malta and get revenge for their defeat back in March.
“We lost against Malta in the first round and I am sure that the whole team is ready for revenge,” Olsen explained.
“This is our final qualifier at home, hence we want to give our supporters a perfect send-off.”
Asked about his impressions about Malta, Olsen highlighted Malta’s compactness in not conceding too many opportunities against teams.
“I watched their game vs Sweden and I have to say that they are very organised because they lost 4-0 but they did not really concede a lot of chances,” he said.
“Moreover, I think coach Ray Farrugia spared some players for this game, in particular Michael Mifsud and Steve Borg and no doubt they will be playing against us.”
Today’s game has special meaning both for coach Olsen and captain Atli Gregerson.
Should Olsen guide Faroe Islands to victory over Malta, this would be his ninth win as their coach which would propel him as the most successful in the country’s history.
Nonetheless, Olsen is not focusing about the record…at least for now.
“For the moment, this record means nothing as I am only concentrated about winning the game,” Olsen underlined.
“However, when I will get older I might look back and think, well, I got the Faroese record for myself.”
Gregersen, on his part, will be leading out the Faroese team as captain for the final time on home soil as he will step away from international duty after this qualifying campaign.
The 37-year-old has 56 caps under his belt and is hoping to provide his home fans something to cheer for against Malta.
“We have been looking forward to this match since March and I hope that our supporters will carry us during the match as well,” he said.
“As for my retirement, this will be my last home game unless we play an international friendly where I can give another farewell.”