UEFA

International Call Ups

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Julio Ribas called his first ever Gibraltar squad yesterday for the forthcoming UEFA Nations League games against FYR Macedonia at home and Liechtenstein away.

The UEFA Nations League is a new international tournament that sees all 55 of UEFA’s members associations’ national teams divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using their recent results, where they would be promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group. All 55 nations are divided into leagues depending on their standing in UEFA’s rankings. 12 teams will be in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each division, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and play each other both home and away. Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower division. Each group winner (there are four groups in each division) is automatically promoted to the next higher division for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group is automatically relegated to the next lower division.

Furthermore, the UEFA Nations League will be linked with the UEFA European Championship qualifying, providing teams another chance to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

In addition to the Nations League Finals of League A, there will be four play-offs with a similar format. Each group winner takes a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of 20 qualified teams, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team of the league. If fewer than four teams in the entire League remain unqualified, play-off spots for that league are given to teams of the next-lower league. This determines the four remaining qualifying spots for the European Championship (out of 24 total).

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Gibraltar Squad

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The squad itself is a mixture of young players and established internationals. This is the intial squad that will be trimmed down for the games themselves. Gibraltar United’s contingent is comprised of Chino, Erin and Jamie. There are a number of new faces, most notably Matt Cafer who now qualifies following the change in the eiligibility rules introduced last year and Reece Styche who was last called up by Allen Bula. The increase of HGP players in the league has also given other younger players the opportunity to showcase their talents on the pitch

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Credit Neil Wilson

Chino kept goal in Gibraltar’s win over Latvia in March as well as keeping a clean sheet, all this in his International debut. He was justly rewarded after years of dedication and keeping goal for United. Indeed for a long time he was the only local keeper getting regular playing time in the Premier Division and his Cap was a long time coming. We wish Chino well and hope he continues his International development.

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Erin is a regular for Gibraltar and already has 11 senior caps as well as a plethora of appearances for the Under 21 and Under 19 sides. He has been a regular in United’s defensive line for the past two seasons and took a more leading role last season in particular. He turned out for the Under 21s in March’s games seeing as they were of a competitive nature but has been recalled by Rivas into the Senior side. Erin is a clear of case of how hard work and dedication reap their own rewards.

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Credit Neil Wilson

Jamie has been a stalwart of the International squad for a number of years now. He has 12 caps to his name and has played against Germany and Belgium in the past. His combatitive nature of play as well as his graft and dedication make his selection a given and he will no doubt fight to get into the XI against Macedonia. Jamie has added a further element to his play as he enjoyed his best goal scoring season in 17/18 and has already opened his account this year.

Whatever the case we urge all the football loving public to turn up at Victoria Stadium on the 6th September to give Gibraltar your support and be that 12th man on the stands. We will all be Gibraltar on that day!!

GFA 1 Vs Latvia 0

Under 21 Call Ups

Following the 1st Round of Premier Division matches Under 21 Coach Aaron Asquez announced his squad for the forthcoming UEFA Under 21 matches. Gibraltar are due to play on Monday 2nd October vs Armenia and then on Tuesday 10th October vs Macedonia. The original 18 call ups are for the Armenia match while a futher squad will be announced for the Macedonia match.

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Michael Negrette, Tito De Torres and Cecil Prescott have all been called up for the Armenia match. Michael has already made his debut for the club, getting about 20 minutes and playing a vital role versus Lynx FC. Tito had made the squad as an unused sub while Cecil was unavailable through injury. We wish all three the best on their ventures and hope to see them wearing the national colours with pride!

The full Gibraltar Under 21 Squad can be found below.

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Farewell Robert! The Gunslinger makes his Exit!

All great stories come to an end sometime and for the the sharpest gun in the West the sun has set over his Gibraltar United Career on the pitch.

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Robert joined us for the start of the 2015/16 season as our marquee signing in the attacking area of the pitch, leaving Second Division side Europa Point as the lure of working with former Boss Manolo was too strong for Robert to resist. He set the tone for his Red and White career by scoring his first goal in his first match against a feisty Britannia.

That set him off on a remarkable scoring streak that saw him net 15 times for the first team and a further 8 times for the Reserves. His goals against Man 62, Lynx FC and most notably Glacis and Angels FC saw the club safe in a difficult first season in the top flight. The moniker John Wayne was to serve Robert well in his first season as almost every ball he touched in the area was converted into a goal. His connection with Pitu was deadly as one can appreciate below.

Scoring 15 league goals in a struggling side, add to that 9 for the Reserves, brought Robert to the attention of Jeff Wood and the clamour for him to get capped was immense. Roberts prowess on the pitch made Mr Wood’s selection easy. A local forward getting regular game time and scoring regularly could not be left out despite the club’s standing in the league. As it was Robert earned his two UEFA caps in the home friendlies against Latvia and Leichtenstein in March 2016. He was to carry on being a regular call up for the following year as Gibraltar begun its FIFA journey as well; just rewards for his efforts.

The following season was much like the last as we fought at the wrong half of the table but yet again Robert ended the season as our top goalscorer, netting six times. It was with a heavy heart that he approached the club informing us of his decision to step down as age has finally caught up with him. His sharpness in front of the goal has not blunted and it will be Olympique 13 that will benefit from this poacher extraordinaire as he is sure to set the 2nd Division alight!

His eagerness to help with our youth has seen him become a coach and will continue that role. Though he leaves the club as a player he still works tirelessly passing on his experience and wisdom to the young strikers in our youth ranks. Indeed Robert has certainly become a Gibraltar United man through and through!

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Farewell Capitan!

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Credit to Christopher Milan, Christian Correa, Core Photography and Snaprimages for the photos.

International Round Up

With a break in the league due to International games the focus of several of our squad members is squarely on internationals. Four of our squad were called up by Mr Wood to the Gibraltar National Team. These being regulars Robert Montovio, Jamie Bosio, Erin Barnett and debutant Ashley Rodriguez. Ashley’s is a well deserved call up as he was one of the most in form midfielders in last years Premier Division. Anthony Hernandez and Chino were also initially called up but the former dropped out due to injury and the latter was somewhat controversially left out of the final cut. A surprising move seeing as Chino gets regular game time and has started the season in excellent form.

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The Gibraltar Under 19 squad has also been in action with ‘Pishu’ Hernandez being called up for three qualifiers being played in Albania. Though the Seniors had games away versus Estonia and at ‘home’ against Belgium, the Under 19s had a difficult qualifying group with the likes of Germany, Republic of Ireland and Albania. So far Andrew has played both games versus Germany and the Republic which Gibraltar has lost by the identical scoreline of 5-0.

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The senior side travelled to Estonia to face a team Gibraltar had drawn 1-1 against in 2014. Hopes were high of getting a result and for 45 minutes Gibraltar gave an excellent account of themselves with Jamie Bosio starting the match and having a very good game partnering Lincoln’s Anthony Bardon in center midfield. However, Gibraltar’s weaknesses were to come and haunt us. A customary early second half goal undid a lot of the good work of the first 45 minutes and nerves began to creep in. The final score of 4-0 to the home side is somewhat flattering but the difference in performances in either half by the away side were abysmal.

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Gibraltar leave for Estonia

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Robert and Jamie on their way to the A Le Coq Stadium

The Under 19s have one more match against Albania on Monday 11th October while the senior squad face a Belgium side in Faro that is full of world class players that ply their trades in the top leagues across the Continent. We hope some more of our players get some game time and hope they all return home free of injury and ready to face Mons Calpe SC.

 

GFA Announces extra Europa League spot.

The Gibraltar Football Association has today announced that Gibraltar will have three teams competing in European competitions as of next season. This is due to the progress made by Lincoln Red Imps FC and Europa FC in the past two seasons thus raising Gibraltar’s UEFA coefficient.

As a result the league winners will go to the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, the Rock Cup Wininers in to the UEFA Europa League qualifiers and be joined there by the 2nd placed team. In the event that the Rock Winner finishes in the 1st or 2nd position in the league the remaining UEFA Europa League place will go the team in 3rd.

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Gib Utd Players with the Gibraltar National Team

The Gibraltar National Team is currently away in Portugal getting ready for a historical first ever FIFA World Cup Qualifier versus Greece on the 6th September 2016.

Mr Wood, national manager, selected four Gibraltar United players to represent Gibraltar in this match. These were Robert Montovio, Chino, Jamie Bosio and Anthony Hernandez. The former two repeat a call up after being involved with the national squad last March. The latter, two of our new Summer signings, get a first call up as Gibraltar United players.

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From l to r, Chino, Jamie Bosio, Robert Montovio, Anthony Hernandez.

Thrown into the mix was a friendly game versus recently crowned European Champions Portugal. Though Gibraltar was at the wrong end of a 5-0 scoreline the lads gave a very creditable first half performance limiting Portugal to a a very fortuitous one goal lead. Anthony came onto the field 20 minutes into the game substituting an injured Anthony Bardon while Jamie came on as a Half Time substitute. Playing in front of a partisan 22,000 strong crowd must have been an experience and the club is proud to have these four players representing Gibraltar.

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Jamie Bosio in action versus Portugal

Attention now turns to the aforementioned historical FIFA fixture versus former European Champions Greece next Tuesday. We wish the National Team the best of luck as the whole of Gibraltar gets behind them.

Season in Review 2015/16

First season back in the Premier Division since the club’s return and the objective was clear; stay in the top flight. The summer had been a very busy one with plenty of transfers in and out. Though we retained the bulk of the promotion clinching squad the board was well aware that an injection of quality was needed. The first signing was perhaps the most important one, Manuel Sanchez Nuñez as manager.

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Manolo is no stranger to Gibraltarian football having had a spell managing College Europa (now Europa FC). He was instrumental in attracting new players into the club and his vast knowledge and experience soon won over new and existing squad players. It was frankly an honour having someone of his experience and with his CV at Gibraltar United and it may be argued that he was crucial in Gib Utd staying in the top flight.

Robert Montovio, ‘Pitu’ Anes, Duane Robba, Jamie Currer and young starlet Byron Espinosa were among the names who signed up in the summer. The #SupportingLocalTalent campaign we had started last year had born its fruit with the club becoming an attractive option to players as we sought the quality needed to stay up.

The opening game way back in September saw us line up against Britannia, who had got promoted the season before as Division 2 champions. A credible 1-1 draw with a debut goal for Montovio gave an indication of the season to come; a tough ask but this team does not know when to lay arms and die! Several incidents in the match however threatened to unhinge our efforts. Mark Casciaro was suspended for 6 games while Lee Buhagiar suffered an injury which subsequently was to indefinitely leave him out of eleven aside football. With the top two next United were in 8th place after 3 games with 1 solitary point on the board. The teams around them (Glacis Utd, Angels FC and Man 62) would be permanent companions for the duration of the season.

The first revelation of the season came in the shape of Brad Power. Locally recognised as a striker the manager saw the potential for a shift of position to the other end of the pitch as a center half. He suffered a very tough baptism of fire vs Lincoln FC but Brad cemented his position in the team through hard work and determination and was rewarded during the season with a call up to the national squad in March and a renewal of his contract with the club. David Gallardo, last year’s flying winger was also reconverted to a centre half and more often than not partnered Brad at the back.

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United did not record their first win of the season until late November when Angel’s FC and Man 62 were defeated in back to back games that did wonders for morale. Robert clearly still had an eye for goal and he was constantly netting for the team in defeat after defeat but the goals tasted better in victory and as we entered December United held their heads above water and Glacis and Angels who were floundering at foot of the table.Yet a lean month meant that the January transfer window was to be key.

A total of 12 players left the club and a similar number drafted in. Perhaps Ashley Perez was to have the biggest impact of the January signings. Signed on a 6 month deal from St Joseph’s he quickly asserted himself as a regular in the team either as a left winger or a left center back. Dexter Panzavechia, signed from Glacis United, also quickly became a fixture in the first XI. Loanee Evan Green also pitched in with important goals. An upturn in fortune saw United gather more points against Glacis United FC and Lions FC. As we climbed positions in the table Britannia began a free fall that was to have dire consequences for them.

No matter how gratifying those results were United never made it easy for themselves. Back to back defeats to Angels FC (who turned up with a new team in January) and Man 62 saw us plummet down to 8th. Another victory over Glacis United, a rearranged fixture from November, kept us afloat. However having to face the top 3 one after the other let the clarets and blues claw back points and positions. They had a resurgence of form post January that saw them gather a substantial number of points against the bigger teams in the league, most notably a 1-0 victory over Europa FC. We lost to St Joseph’s the following day meaning Glacis now had the upper hand.

Once again our character showed through. Wins against Lions, again, and most especially Britannia meant that a new contender joined the basement battle. A contender that had not won in 13 games and was in free fall. Before the curtain closed however the was a break for internationals and four of our squad were called up. A just reward for outstanding performances but more importantly for getting minutes on the pitch they would no get elsewhere. Robert, Brad, Chino and Evan were called up by Mr. Wood for the games versus Liechtenstein and Latvia. Chino has been frankly outstanding this season and his call up was extremely well deserved. His saves had been remarkable and there was a series of one on one saves in our first game versus Angels FC that gave us the three points. Chino and Brad got minutes in a match versus San Roque but Robert played as a sub in both UEFA games at the stadium.

As league action returned United approached the last few games of the season knowing it was still in their hands despite a very damaging 2-0 defeat to Glacis United in late April. Angels had already gone but Britannia had joined us at the foot of the table. Suspensions and injuries were also beginning to take their toll. Kaylan Rumbo proved a godsend to Manolo as he filled in practically every position in the pitch. Chino missed a key game versus Lynx and young Ayden Viñales took the gloves. The 17 year old handled himself brilliantly against a strong Lynx side. A crucial Montovio goal gave us 3 unexpected points at a time when Britannia could not get a win. With St Joseph’s, Angels and Man 62 to come in our last 3 games survival was in our hands.

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Photo courtesy of Correa Photography

The loss to St Joseph’s meant that Glacis United were safe. The relegation spot would be a fight between us and Britannia. Europa FC annihilated them 16-1 the day before we beat Angels 7-1 to make our league spot practically safe for the following season. Lincoln cemented our place by beating Britannia 10-0. We closed our season with a 2-2 draw versus Manchester 62 FC to finish 8th place with a respectable 29 points.

A very hard season but respect needs to go out to these group of 100% local players who have beaten all the odds to stay in the Division. We only failed to beat Lincoln, Europa and St Joseph’s and we have shown we have the ability to fight it out in Gibraltar’s top division. Work has already started in the 2016-17 squad and we cannot wait!

Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

Gib United and Futsal

Gibraltar’s FUTSAL squad has been involved in triangular tournament in Malta in preparation for the Euro Qualifiers in the New Year. Alongside Gibraltar Malta, as hosts, and Serbia are participating in the event. Gibraltar has already hosted Malta in a couple of friendly games earlier in the year  and in Serbia they faced a side currently ranked in the Top 10 of UEFA FUTSAL’s rankings. Three of our players have been drafted by the Gibraltar FUTSAL FA and have travelled with the squad for the tournament. These players are goalkeeper Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin, Justin Collado and Captain Andrew Lopez. Though Gibraltar lost both matches Gibraltar United Football Club is proud to have these international FUTSAL players in its ranks. Well done to all the Gibraltar players in the squad but in particular to our three lads!