History was made at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium in the Armenian capital on Saturday as Gibraltar won its first ever competitive match, beating Armenia 1-0. The self-governing territory was first officially recognized by UEFA in 2013 and had lost 22 competitive matches since, including all of their Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.
The day started as anything but a historic one with the stadium hosting the match playing the national anthem of Lichtenstein instead of Gibraltar’s. The Gibraltar FA released a statement on Twitter regarding the situation.
“The Gibraltar FA is very disappointed to note that, prior to tonight’s UEFA Nations League match versus Armenia, the national anthem of Liechtenstein was played. The Armenian FA has apologised to the Head of Delegation representing the Gibraltar FA in Yerevan for this oversight and an announcement has been made at the national stadium apologising for the error.”
Gibraltar’s hero was ultimately the team’s captain Joseph Chipolina, who converted a penalty in the 50th minute. Even if they did get beaten by the 198th ranked team in the world, it’s not as if Armenia just kind of rolled over in this loss. The team had 77.7 percent possession as well as 35 shots (10 on target) for the game. The Armenian players were also led by Arsenal winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan as their captain.
The footballing history of Gibraltar has been nothing short of comical. In World Cup qualifying, they fell 6-0 to Estonia and 9-0 to Belgium. They’ve also suffered an 8-1 to Poland, a 7-0 defeat to Germany and another 7-0 the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2016 qualifying. In total, they’ve scored five goals, and conceded 107. But the memories of those games seemed to wash away from all of the players once the final whistle blew and they celebrated with the energy of a World Cup-winning squad.