February 2010 Round-Up:

As mentioned in January's round up, we'll change the format to publish the news when we have it, instead of doing end-of-the-month roundups.



27 February, 2010

League kicks off on 31 March

The full fixture list for the 2010 Vodafone Division has been announced
(see the fixture list here). The league kicks off on Wednesday 31 March with a match between NSÍ Runavík and ÍF Fuglafjørður. The following day, on Maundy Thursday, the first round is completed with these matches: Víkingur vs. AB Argir; HB Tórshavn vs. FC Suðuroy; EB/Streymur vs. B36 Tórshavn and B68 Toftir vs. B71 Sandoy.

The 27th and last round is not played before the 23rd of October. That’s 20 days later than last year and is playing the Russian roulette once again as the weather in late October can often be appalling with strong winds making it impossible to play football.

But before the league commences, the Super Cup will be played on 14 March (Brr… sounds cold). This time, champions HB Tórshavn play cup winners Víkingur.

The preliminary round of the cup, where some of the lesser teams take part, will be played on 20 March. A week later, on 27 March, the first round proper will be played. That’s when the top flight clubs enter the tournament. The final will be played on 29 July.


Preparations hampered by snow
The weather still doesn’t allow the scheduled training matches to be placed as the pitches are covered with snow. Since the first pre-season matches were scheduled in late January, it has only been playable for a week; from 8 February to 16 February. The annual Klaksvík tournament for the top 3 clubs of last season and KÍ Klaksvík, which that was supposed to take place this weekend, has also been postponed due to the snow. As the top teams will be occupied with their preparations for the league-start in a month’s time, the Klaksvík tournament will probably not see the top teams take part this year, the hosts KÍ Klaksvík have expressed.

Several off the clubs have asked their supporters to turn up at the football ground with a shovel to clear the pitch for snow so that it will be playable next week. But the weather report doesn’t look too promising at the moment. On Wednesday and Thursday the prediction is snow showers with temperatures between the freezing point and minus 5 degrees Celsius.



26 February, 2010

Top scorer Finnur Justinussen on trial at Swedish club Ørebro

Last season’s Vodafone Division’s top scorer, 20-year-old Finnur Justinussen from Víkingur is on a trial with Swedish top division club Ørebro in these days. Ørebro ended last season in 6th spot. Justinussen played for the club on Wednesday in a friendly against Swedish 2nd level club Syrianska FC which Syrianska won 1-0 with a goal after 75 minutes. Justinussen played up from the start of the match. Our “intelligence service” has reported that Ørebro created very little up front. But the forwards were getting very little support from their team-mates, it must be added. But Justinussen was still rather invisible, we understand.

As far as we know, Justinussen is supposed to play another training match before any decision is taken whether so offer him a contract or not.

Justinussen was on a trial for another Swedish club, Gefle IF, after the Faroese season had ended last year, and apparently Gefle were interested in more, but their economic situation didn’t give room for a signing.

Should Justinussen get a contract this time around, Víkingur will not be able to get a replacement-striker as the Faroese transfer window has closed. As Víkingur have also waved goodbye to forward/attacking midfielder Andreas Lava Olsen (who joined Danish 1st division club Frem) earlier this year, Víkingur could find it difficult up front in the coming season.

But we’ll see what happens to Justinussen in the end. It won’t be easy to get a signing from a top Swedish club (not to be negative). But we keep our fingers crossed.

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Two more KÍ Klaksvík players snapped by the top flight

Before the transfer window closed on Thursday 18 February, B68 Toftir and NSÍ Runavík had snapped two of relegated KÍ Klaksvík’s players.

B68 have signed 19-year-old midfielder Eli Simonsen, who B68’s website say has a good shot and can shoot and can play with both feet.

NSÍ have signed 23-year-old midfielder Oddmar á Lakjuni, younger brother of Heðin á Lakjuni who also moved to NSÍ from KÍ this month.



21 February, 2010

The snow is again taking its toll on the preparations for the 2010 season as friendly matches during the weekend have been cancelled due to the weather.

But off field, the preparations have reached their final stage (in some aspects) as the transfer window closed on Thursday 18 February. A couple of last gasp signings were announced shortly before the deadline. The most high-profile signing was the one of Símun Samuelsen for HB Tórshavn. The transfer window opens again on 28 June and stays open until 26 July.

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HB Tórshavn

Símun Samuelsen and Rógvi Holm put ink on paper for HB Tórshavn

Last Thursday, HB announced that 24-year old midfielder/forward Símun Samuelsen had signed a 3-year contract with the club.

As mentioned in January’s round-up, it was always expected that Símun Samuelsen would sign for HB, now that he had returned to the Faroe Islands after 5 years in Iceland. But although he had been training with HB in early February and had played training matches for them, the contract wasn’t signed before Thursday as there were some issues between his Icelandic club Keflavík and HB. Those issues have now been resolved.

As Samuelsen moved to Iceland in 2005, aged 19, the Faroese public doesn’t know a whole lot about the capabilities of the player, and although he has been in the national team since 2003 and a regular starter in the latter years, his performances for the Faroe Islands haven’t really convinced the crowd. But he will get the chance to put the record straight now and prove his value in the Vodafone Division.

Samuelsen’s main asset is his speed and work rate. In the friendlies for HB he has been playing on the left hand side of midfield as well as up front in a central position.

Samuelsen has appeared 27 times for the Faroe Islands and has scored one goal. – A memorable one from the byline against Israel. See video below:

Símun Samuelsen's spectacular goal against Israel

Rógvi Holm signs one-year contract
On Thursday it was also announced that 19-year-old central defender Rógvi Holm had signed for the current champions.

It could also be said that the Faroese spectators are not too familiar with Holm either as he hasn’t played much in the Faroese league at the highest level. He moved abroad to join Aberdeen’s U-19 team in September 2008.

But Holm has made his mark playing for the Faroese U-21 team where his convincing performances have caught many eyes, and some think that he is already ready to play for the Faroese senior team.

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EB/Streymur

EB/Streymur weakened by Marni Djurhuus’ departure
EB/Streymur have announced that their strong central defender/defensive midfielder, 24-year-old Marni Djurhuus is moving to Denmark to study.

Djurhuus made his debut for the Faroe Islands against Lithuania in 2006 but retired from the national team again just a year later having appeared 4 times for the national team. He made his debut for EB/Streymur’s seniors 3 days after he turned 16 in 2001 (which makes him the youngest played to have played in the top division. This is unofficial)).



13 February, 2010

FC Suðuroy foreign strength
FC Suðuroy have signed 33 year old Slovenia goalkeeper Stanislav Kuzma. Kuzuma has played at the highest level in Slovenia for several seasons as well as in the lower leagues. Since 2000 he has represented ND Beltinci, NK Korotan, NK Maribo and NK Nafta Lendava. In 2009 he joined Cypriot club Olympiakos Nikosia, before switching to FC Suðuroy now. The word from FC Suðuroy is that they are extremely well satisfied with the goalkeeper who they say is exceptionally good.

The newcomers have also signed two other foreigners; a Ghanaian defender and a midfielder from Cyprus who will arrive next week. A fourth foreigner might be on his way as well, but that has not been decided yet.

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ÍF Fuglafjørður
On March 6th and 7th, ÍF is going to host a friendly preseason-tournament for the teams on the island of Eysturoy (East Island). The participating teams will be ÍF, NSÍ Runavík, B68 Toftir and Víkingur.

Previously we have mention that it was not quite clear if ÍF’s striker Øssur Dalbúð, who came to ÍF on loan from NSÍ at the second half of last season, would continue for ÍF this season or if he would return to NSÍ. But as he appeared for ÍF in Friday evening’s friendly against KÍ Klaksvík, it looks like Dalbúð is staying at ÍF.

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HB Tórshavn
Champions HB have signed 23-year-old Icelandic defender Thórður Steinar Hreiðarsson from Thróttur who were relegated from the Icelandic top flight at the end of last season. Hreiðarsson, who has been in the senior team since 2006, prefers the centre-back position, but is capable of playing as a fullback also.

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NSÍ Runavík
NSÍ Runavík has signed Heðin á Lakjuni, who becomes 32 in a week, from relegated KÍ Klaksvík. Á Lakjuni has previously won the championships with KÍ Klaksvík (1999), B36 Tórshavn (2001) and HB Tórshavn (2005) as well as the Cup with the same clubs in 1999 (KÍ), 2001 and 2003 (B36) and 2004 (HB).

During the last few seasons á Lakjuni hasn´t been quite the same player he was earlier when he tormented defences with his speed and was one of the very best players in the league. In the last seasons he has also been playing in more defensive positions.

From 1996 to 2005 he was capped 16 times for the Faroe Islands and scored 1 goal, but never really managed to become a regular in the starting position.



10 February, 2010

Faroe Islands to meet old acquaintances in the qualifiers for the European championships in Poland and Ukraine in 2012.

The draw for the 2012 European championships qualification tournament was made in Warszawa, Poland on Sunday and the Faroe Islands went into group C together with Italy, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Estonia. As this is the only group where three of the teams have qualified for the world cup in South Africa in the summer, you could argue that this is therefore the toughest group of them all.

The Faroes have met all these countries in previous qualifying tournaments and have managed to draw against two of them; Slovenia and Northern Ireland.

But how are the chances for points this time around? Let’s take a look at how previous matches have ended and then you can make your own predictions for the coming qualifying campaign.



Italy
As newly crowned world champions in 2006, Italy were given a run for their money when they visited the Faroe Islands in June 2007 and in the end, Italy had to be well satisfied with a 2-1 win as the Faroes threatened to snatch a sensational equalizer near the end of the match.

The Italians are warned now and won’t make the same mistake again by taking the match a bit lightly.

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By the way, did you know that the Faroes actually would have become world champions had they beaten Italy that day?

– What?

Well, there is an alternative to the real world championship going on. It works similar to boxing. To become the new world champion, you must beat the current world champion. The first match was the first ever international played in 1872 between Scotland and England. But as it ended 0-0, nobody won the crown that year. The following year England beat Scotland and therefore became the first (alternative) world champions. The first team to beat England then took over the world title, and the team to beat that team again became the new world champion.

And like that, the alternative world championship crown has travelled from country to country, and in 2007 Italy beat Scotland to become alternative world champions (in addition to the real world championship they won in 2006) before they faced the Faroe Islands in the world championship title match and just managed to defend the title with an unconvincing 2-1 win. Four days later Italy lost the title when they were beaten by Lithuania.

This is just for fun of course, but the whole list which is updated to August in 2009 can be seen here.

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Previous results against Italy:
June 06, 2007, Tórshavn: Faroe Islands – Italy 2-1 (1-0), Euro 08 Qual.
Nov. 21, 2007, Modena: Italy – Faroe Islands 3-1 (3-0), Euro 08 Qual.



Serbia
The Serbs were also in the same group as the Faroes in the recently ended World Cup qualification tournament where they finished top of the group. Serbia won both games 2-0 against the Faroe Islands, but at home (Brian Kerr’s first match in charge) Serbia had to fight for their points; especially in the first half where the Faroese could easily have taken the lead.

This proves, that on a good day, major scalps can be collected.

On the other hand, those with the major scalps can also punish you severely, if they’re in that mood. When Serbia was Yugoslavia, they were in that mood twice; winning 8-1 and 7-0.

Previous results against Serbia
Sep. 06, 2008, Beograd, Serbia – Faroe Isl. 2-0 (1-0), WC 2010 Qual.
June 10, 2009, Tórshavn: Faroe Isl. – Serbia 2-0 (1-0), WC 2010 Qual.

Previous results against Yugoslavia
May 16, 1991, Beograd: Yugoslavia – Faroe Isl. 7-0 (2-0), Euro 92 Qual.
Oct. 16, 1991, Landskrona: Faroe Isl. – Yugosl. 0-2 (0-1), Euro 92 Qual.
Apr. 24, 1996, Beograd: Yugoslavia – Faroe Isl. 3-1 (3-0), WC 98 Qual.
Oct. 06, 1996, Toftir: Faroe Islands – Yugoslavia 1-8 (1-5), WC 98 Qual.



Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland brings back the happy memories from the early days when Faroese football had just entered the European or world stage. After beating Austria in 1990 in their very first ever competitive match, the Faroes lost 4-1 to Denmark a month later, but in the away match in Belfast on the 1st of May 1991, the Faroes sprung another surprise when they drew 1-1 with Nortern Ireland in the Faroes’ only 3rd ever qualifier. The Faroe Islands will be looking forward to repeat such a result. – And by all means to avoid the result from the return match (played in Sweden) which Nortern Ireland won 5-0.

Previous results against Nortern Ireland:
May 01, 1991, Belfast: Northern Ireland – Faroe Islands 1-1 (1-0), Euro 92 Qual.Sep. 11, 1991, Landskrona: Faroe Islands – Northern Ireland. 0-5 (0-1), Euro 92 Qual.



Slovenia
Also Slovenia brings back happy memories from the past. In the World Cup qualifier in September of 2000, Slovenia were leading 2-0 with a minute left of normal time, but the Faroes still managed to grab a dramatic equalizer in injury time. Slovenia later qualified for the 2002 World cup, then as the smallest nation ever (a population of 2,000,000) to have qualified to the world cup (that record has since been beaten by Trinidad & Tobago, 1,250,000 inhabitants).

Although Slovenia is seeded only 4th in the group, they are considerably better than that placing which is proved by their qualification to this summer’s world cup in South Africa.

Previous results against Slovenia:
Sept. 03, 2000, Toftir: Faroe Islands – Slovenia 2-2 (0-1), WC 02 Qual.
Oct. 06, 2001, Ljubljan: Slovenia - Faroe Islands 3-0 (2-0), WC 02 Qual.



Estonia
As the lowest seeded team in the group (before the Faroes), there will be high hopes of getting points against Estonia. But that has been the plan previously also, but that plan failed miserably when the Faroes were beaten 5-0 in Estonia in a Euro qualifier in 1998 less than a year after the Faroes had beaten Estonia 2-0 in a friendly. Also at home, the Estonian were smarter when they won 2-0 in Tórshavn in 1999.

Previous results against Estonia:
Jan. 24, 1996, Pyla (Cyprus): Faroe Islands – Estonia 2-2 (2-2), Friendly
Aug. 06, 1997, Tartu: Estonia – Faroe Islands 0-2 (0-0), Friendly
June 04, 1998, Tallinn: Estonia – Faroe Isl. 5-0 (2-0), Euro 2000 Qual.
Sep. 04, 1999, Tórshavn: Faroe Isl. – Estonia 2-0 (0-0), Euro 2000 Qual
June 04, 2008, Tallinn: Estonia – Faroe Islands 4-3 (3-0), Friendly

Representatives for the countries will meet in Belgrade on 8 March to organize the fixtures list.

The first matches will be played in September of 2010.






05 February, 2010

Jóan Símun Edmundsson joins Newcastle United

18 year old B68 Toftir forward/winger Jóan Símun Edmundsson has signed for Newcastele United. The contract runs until the summer.

Endmundsson is widely considered as one of the brightest Faroese talents for some time. He especially made his mark on the Faroese U-21 team during 2009, scoring 3 goals in 8 matches, most notably the winning goal over Russia after only 52 seconds. He also scored the winner against Latvia and in the draw with Luxembourg. His impressive displays for the U-21 also earned him a place in the senior team where he debuted at home in the 1-0 defeat to France in August 2009.

Below is a video from the Famous U-21 win over Russia in June 2009. The goal is 3:50 into the video (52 seconds through the match).

How the deal came aboutColin Calderwood, who is now coach at Newcastle, was early in 2009 almost certain to become coach for the Faroese national team. But in the last moment he instead said yes to an offer to become coach at Newcastle instead.

In June he visited a Faroese football agent and attended the U-21 match between the Faroe Islands and Russia where Edmundsson scored the only goal of the game.

In December Edmundsson was on a trial at Newcastle and apparently he impressed Calderwood and the other coaches enough to get a contract.

In our December round-up we had a link to a Newcastle supporters-forum, where there was some debate whether they should sign players from lesser nations like the Faroe Islands. The thread has now been deleted, but it can still be seen in Google’s cache here.

Some of the debaters remembered that here.

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Euro 2012 qualifiers on artificial grass?

The Faroese football association is considering if some of the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship should be played on the artificial grass in Gundadalur stadium in Torshavn.

As artificial grass is the surface used for all league and cup matches in the Faroe Islands, that’s the surface the players prefer for the international matches as well, naturally.

But the drawback with the Gundadalur stadium is that it has a capacity of only 1,500 seats. That might in some cases be enough for some of the matches against some teams that for one reason or another is considered as “not so interesting” (strangely, many prefer to watch the big guns whipping the Faroes 6-0 instead).

For example Latvia has often been placed in that “not so interesting” category (maybe that will change now as they were beaten 2-1 in September 2009), but even Latvia managed to draw around 2000 spectators for that match. Had it been played in Gundadalur, 500 spectators would have missed it. That’s still 25% and a much too big a chunk to sacrifice, and if spectators are going to be sacrificed at all, what’s the purpose of playing at home altogether?

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FIFA ranking list not basis for next bonus deal

The Faroese football association has expressed that FIFA’s ranking list will not be part of any coming bonus deal they make with the national team as the last deal, which was based entirely on where the national team was placed on that list, cost the football association a fortune. The last deal meant that the football association will have to pay every player who participated in the qualifiers for the 2010 world cup approximately 200,000 DKK (app. $37,000) which in total amounts to 5.3 million DKK (app. $980,000). That’s a lot of money in Faroese football and the Football association is not going to pay all the money in one instalment, but is instead going to pay it over a period of 2 years, they hope.

The next bonus deal is going to be calculated according to victories and draws only, and the FIFA ranking list will not be a part of the equation in any way.

The previous deal said that every player should earn 6,000 DKK (app $1,100) for every place they would be placed above no. 150 on the FIFA ranking list at the end of the year. At that time, the Faroes were no. 117 after a draw against Austria and a win over Latvia and also a friendly win over Iceland which actually produced a lot more points on the list than the world cup qualifying draw with Austria. But the FA probably didn’t know how the FIFA list was calculated.

The football association seems to have learned the lesson now that they must be better prepared when they make such deals in the future.

The national team (or those who represent it) are maybe not quite innocent either, as only players who played in world cup qualifiers are being paid, and not those who played only in the friendly win over Iceland, even if that particular match is responsible for a large chunk of the 200,000 DKK which the bonus deal produced. Some players only played a couple of minutes in total in a world cup qualifier that was lost anyway (and therefore didn’t produce any FIFA ranking points), but still earn the full bonus amount, while others played in the friendly with Iceland only (and 90 minutes of it), but earn nothing, even if the match, as mentioned, produced a whole lot of FIFA ranking points. That’s not a very loyal deal.

The draw for 2012 European Championship qualification takes place on Sunday in Warszawa, Poland, at 11.00 GMT.

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