Can Gibraltar claim first competitive point in World Cup qualifier with Estonia?
Sam Barnard | 7 October 2016
Take Gibraltar double chance odds
Estonia v Gibraltar double chance odds of 11/2 for the latter to gain their first competitive point(s) look extremely tasty. Here are the reasons why…
Although the smallest in terms of size and population (30k) out of all UEFA football nations, Gibraltar display signs they can punch above their weight. Like Iceland, they are aiming to prove that size doesn’t completely matter.
The oversees British territory drew with Estonia in just their third ever official match. That is despite the Baltic country having over 40 times the amount of people.
Gibraltar, whose first official match came in 2013, only received FIFA recognition ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. They may not have gained a point yet in a competitive clash, but have as big a chance as any on Friday evening.
Familiar faces out in force for GFA
Much of the team that featured for GFA, as they are nicknamed, against Estonia in their 1-1 draw at the same Tallinn ground they are expected to square off against each other in are in the squad again. Just English-based duo David Artell and Jake Gosling are absent.
But skipper Roy Chipolina and key man Liam Walker, as well as multiple goal hero Lee Casciaro, who wasn’t available last time out, are all set to start and with far more experience under their belts.
All three men, as well as many others in the current squad, also featured for Gibraltarian champions Lincoln Red Imps in the Champions League first qualifying round this season, against Estonian outfit Flora Tallinn. Although, Walker has since moved on to title rivals Europa.
Lincoln ran out 3-2 winners on aggregate, with five of the Flora players being in the Estonia set-up to face Gibraltar. So, what’s to say the Gibraltarian contingent can’t topple familiar foes again?
Can Chipolina hurt Estonian opposition again?
On top of that, Joseph Chipolina – distant relative of skipper Roy – scored in each leg. You can back him to net again anytime at a hugely tempting 18/1 price.
Anthony Bardon, scorer against Estonia in the 1-1 draw back in May 2014, is also in the squad again, and the midfielder is an 8/1 shout in the same market.
As for attacker Casciaro, whose younger brothers Ryan and Kyle have once again joined him in the senior set-up, he has become somewhat of a goal hero on the rock having struck past the likes of Scotland and Celtic.
Casciaro hopeful of first points
Coral spoke to Lee after his first leg winner against the Hoops in Champions League qualifying, and when asked if he fancied Gibraltar gaining their first points against the likes of Estonia he said: “Playing for Gibraltar against those oppositions, we will try and get a result and hopefully our first few points, let’s see.
“Our national side is just beginning to grow, so playing games like against Celtic can only improve football in Gibraltar.”
Eldest Casciaro brother Lee, a policeman for his day job, has made a habit of making history for club and country. He is 5/1 to score anytime to perhaps help Gibraltar to their first point.
GFA in better form than Blueshirts
Estonia also come into this clash on the back of some crushing defeats to Bosnia and Herzegovina (5-0) and Portugal (7-0). Gibraltar only recently lost to the latter 5-0 and after their confidence was sky high having just claimed the Euro 2016 title.
Besides scoring against minnows Malta and Andorra, Estonia haven’t netted in each of their other past six games. While, GFA found the target last time out against Greece thanks to a stunning effort from Walker, who is 5/1 in the anytime market.
The Blueshirts, as Estonia are nicknamed, are heavy odds-on 1/9 favourites to take all three points. However, the smart money certainly lies in Gibraltar gaining a draw (17/2) or even a win (25/1).
Gibraltar stars and nation in high spirits
National boss Jeff Wood will also hope to rely on his team’s highest-profile player in English-born Scott Wiseman.
Former Hull City defender Wiseman is in fine form for Scunthorpe United, scoring once and setting up two. This is partly why the Lincolnshire outfit’s lead at the top of League One is now three points. He is 22/1 to net anytime.
The confidence of Wiseman combined with general high spirits of Gibraltar after their teams Lincoln and Europa’s promising runs in the Champions league and Europa League qualifiers, suggests they can continue that momentum into Talinn.
So, stay tuned for the match to potentially witness history! It is live on the Sky Sports Red Button at 19:45 BST on Friday, October 7th.