Faroe Islands U21 vs Georgia U21 by Sweem
It is a critical moment for both teams when they meet in Faroe Islands to battle for three cruical points.
The Faroese team is consisting of local players from their highest tier, Effodeildin. There are a few exceptions, such as striker Jakub Ludvig Thomsen from Danish lower league, in Thisted FC. Similar to many teams from Northern Europe, the strenght is not based on individual skill but rather the collective group who attack and defend together as a unit. Even though Faroe Islands are limited in terms of resources and talent pool, they manage to perform and gain solid results against more developed nations football wise.
Faroese coach Eli Hentze has been in charge of the group since January 2017 and have led his team to one draw, and two losses. The losses came against Denmark (0-3) and Lithuania (0-3) while most recently clinching a 1-1 draw away versus Finland. It is impressive to gain a result in Finland, while managing to stay in the game despite 22 shots against their own goal.
Such facts just shows that Faroe Islands have a very organised style of play which is difficult to break through unless you face very creative players. The Faroese prefer a tight 4-1-4-1 formation with one defensive midfielder protecting the back four, sometimes creating a block of five defenders while being protected by a flat four defensive minded midfield.
Georgia U21 is footballing nation on the rise when it comes to youth. Especially the recent generations at U19 and U21 have some promising individuals who play actively in professional clubs in Europe. Georgia have lost against Denmark with 5-2 away, but created more shots on goal and overall played even, or even controlled the game in long stretches.
It might sound wrong to claim after conceding five goals - and indeed, the defense has a lot to work on. However, offensively to punish a team like Denmark with two goals and 10 shots on target shows that they can cause harm. Not to mention, Denmark might have one of the most interesting U21 teams in Europe at the moment - so there are some positives for Georgia to take from the loss.
They will rely on their impact players, Giorgi Arabidze from Shakthar Donetsk, and Giorgi Chakvetadze who just made his first appearance for Gent in Belgium. Both players are coming from strong performances in the U19 tournament, and as such - have been promoted to the U21 squad. Defensively, Jemal Tabidze from Russian UFA is the main glue. He is playing 90 minutes each week in the Russian Premier League and kept a recent clean sheet against CSKA Moscow. The remaining Georgian players are mainly domestic, with some exceptions like winger Giorgi Beridze from Trencin in Slovakia.
Coach Gia Geguchadze is experienced after having led more senior teams in his career, leading for example domestic team Zestafoni in European UEFA qualifiers a few years ago. He is knowledgeable and good at developing talents within Georgian standards, after having been successful as a coach for Dinamo Tbilisi as well, which is Georgias biggest club.
It is always difficult to play against a compact side like Faroe Islands. These are two teams who have had tough starts on the qualifiers result wise, and for Georgia this is a do-or-die match if they want to be involved in the upper spots. They have a more professional team than Faroe Islands and many players are active in European clubs in bigger leagues.
The creativity is certainly there, with Arabidze and Chakhvetadze who can perform magic on their own. Defensively, Georgia need to be able to contain the Faroese set pieces and aerial duels. Over 90 minutes, Georgia have more quality and if they keep the same offensive approach as against Denmark, they should hit the net against Faroe Islands too.