Andorra

Andorra

  • Capital: Andorra La Vella
  • Official Languages: Catalan
  • Nicknames: Tricolors
  • Association: Federació Andorrana de Futbol (FAF)
  • FIFA Code: AND

Records

  • Best World Cup Result (Men): Not Qualified
  • Best World Cup Result (Women): Not Qualified
  • Best Euros Result (Men): Not Qualified
  • Best Euros Result (Women): Not Qualified
  • Highest FIFA Ranking (Men): 125th (September 2005)
  • Highest FIFA Ranking (Women): 114th (March 2017)
  • Lowest FIFA Ranking (Men): 206th (December 2011)
  • Lowest FIFA Ranking (Women): 163rd (April 2021)
  • Most Capped Player: Ildefons Lima – 128 caps [as of May 2021]
  • Top Scorer: Ildefons Lima – 11 goals [as of May 2021]

The Principality of Andorra (Principat d’Andorra) is a landlocked micronation situated in the Pyrenees mountain range of western Europe, sandwiched between France to the north and Spain to its south. It has a curious situation with its head of state by having two co-princes; the Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, and the President of France. It is the fourth-smallest nation within UEFA and one of its newer members having only become a member of both UEFA and FIFA in 1996 despite having been an independent nation since 1278. Andorra’s first official international came in November 1996 when they lost at home to Estonia 1-6 in a friendly match.

Naturally for its size and population (roughly 77,5k), Andorra are one of the lower ranked sides within European football and considered one of the ‘minnows’ within the UEFA confederation. Since entering into their first qualifying campaign for Euro 2000, the Andorrans have only won three qualifying games, and drawn a further four throughout its entire history. Their first qualifying victory came in October 2004 when they defeated Macedonia 1-0 at Andorra La Vella, in a qualifying campaign which also saw them achieve a goalless draw with Macedonia in the return fixture, and another goalless draw to Finland at home in the Tricolors best ever qualifying campaign. Most recently, the results have improved for Andorra with them achieving a win and a draw in both the 2018 World Cup qualifying (drawing 0-0 with the Faroe Islands and winning Hungary 1-0) and Euro 2020 qualifying (beating Moldova 1-0 and drawing to Albania 2-2), where they did not finish bottom of the group for the very first time. A huge improvement for the side considering they had historically experienced losing all of their qualifying fixtures.

In the draw for the 2022 World Cup qualifying rounds, they were the lowest side within ‘Pot 5’ but had crucially avoided being a part of ‘Pot 6’ which included UEFA’s five lowest-ranked sides. Placed in a group with England, Hungary, Albania, Poland, and San Marino, the Andorrans must have some enthusiasm of potentially picking up some points during the campaign, especially against some of the bigger nations that they had surprised previously in their history. However, the games against San Marino must surely be the most crucial games in the campaign and provides a great opportunity for the Tricolors to accumulate six points and achieve their greatest ever qualifying campaign in their history.

Talking about one of Europe’s smallest nations within the UEFA confederation who seem to be slowly improving and becoming a difficult nation to break down, and are prone to upsetting the odds and getting a decent result, especially at home, is the excellent The Best Andorrão. They are a Brazilian-based Twitter account which reports on all things involving Andorran football, either news coming from the domestic leagues, or the national team, all in the format of the Portuguese language. To find their social media accounts, follow the links below:

Q. Who would you say is your country’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?

Ildefons Lima

Player: Ildefons Lima [41-year-old centre-back currently playing at Inter d’Escaldes], has been playing for Andorra since the beginning, and he is currently the most capped player and top scorer of the national team, and has always helped the country – in fact, he does a great project with ‘Gol Solidari‘ [a charity which Lima was involved in establishing which helps raise money to help disadvantaged children within the Principality].

Coach: Koldo Álvarez, he’s been the coach of Andorra since 2010 and during that time, he has managed results which have been “good” (of course, I don’t consider most of the losses that Andorra has), because he managed to bring positive results, in terms of performance, against complicated and difficult opponents.

Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the national team both in the past and present?

As I mentioned previously: Ildefons Lima, for the same reasons as the previous question and more – he is and will always be part of Andorra’s selection history.

Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player from Andorra currently?

Josep Gómes

Even though he is a goalkeeper (and he will always get heavily involved and kept busy in Andorran matches), it is Josep Gómes – I have seen his games at Inter d’Escaldes and he always gives good performances in the goal, he has conceded few goals there, and when playing for the national team he also produces great performances.

Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the national team?

I think it is in a moment of evolution, Andorra is very small and it is difficult to grow in a sport like football. However, I think now this is happening which is benefitting the national team.

Q. Are there any Andorran players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the country?

Iker Álvarez

We have Villarreal’s 19-year-old goalkeeper, Iker Álvarez – he made his Andorra debut against Poland this year, and I liked him. Possibly he will evolve more and gain a first team space in the Yellow Submarines or a team like it.

Q. Looking at Andorra’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?

Andorra 1-0 Hungary in June 2017 for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. They managed to keep a clean sheet throughout the game and even scored a goal in the first half. It has been difficult and long time to see this victory, so it was worth a lot. The joy in the celebration of the players after the game showed this.

Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?

I think it’s the general defensive performances, not even a particular game or result – this needs improvement. I think this may have improved in comparison with previous years, but this is still bad. The 4-1 loss to Hungary in their previous game is a good example of that.

Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Andorran national team?

The bad thing is to know that in most games Andorra has a huge chance of losing. Simple.

Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?

I have been following the Andorran team for a while now, but I don’t know what it is like to see an Andorran game with fans. I would like to know if there is any kind of singing, and if it does, it should be interesting.

Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?

The current home shirt

At the moment I don’t have an Andorran shirt, the Euro has an expensive exchange rate in Brazil and it makes it very difficult to spend on something that comes from outside the country, but I would like to have the current Andorran kit – it has its style, it is very beautiful.

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Andorran national team?

I would like to see more good results, not just defeats – now is a time when the federation intends to evolve and this may be possible, and by working with the clubs in the country, they can potentially form good players in the future. Let’s hope so!

A massive moltes gràcies to The Best Andorrão for answering our questions on the Tricolors. Remember you can find their social media accounts in the links at the top of the blogpage.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at the94thmin@gmail.com or send a message at @The94thMin on Twitter.

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