Eleven things you need to know about Gibraltar

Gibraltar line up ahead of their Group D opener against Poland. Picture: Getty

Gibraltar line up ahead of their Group D opener against Poland. Picture: Getty

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GIBRALTAR are set to play the Republic of Ireland in Dublin this weekend, in what will be their second ever competitive match.

Allen Bula’s side are undoubtedly the minnows in the Euro 2016 qualifying Group D, and are something of an unknown quantity.

Here are ten things you should know about Gibraltar...

• The Gibraltar Football Association was formed in 1895 - 22 years after the Scottish FA and 32 years after the English FA - but was only admitted as UEFA’s 54th member in May 2013, following a 20-year campaign.

• Gibraltar only took five matches to win their first senior international fixture, beating Malta 1-0 at home thanks to Kyle Casciaro’s goal in June. However, they were thumped 7-0 by Poland in their Group D opener.

• Gibraltar’s opening fixture - despite being a designated home match - was actually played 150 miles away at Faro’s Algarve Stadium in Portugal. The Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar does not meet UEFA standards, although a new 8000-capacity stadium is currently being built.

• Nine members of the side play their club football for Lincoln Red Imps, currently sitting fourth in Gibraltar’s Premier League table after three games. They’ve won the title for the last 12 seasons.

• Allen Bula played for Gibraltarian sides Manchester 62, Gibraltar United, St Joseph’s FRAC and Glacis United, as well as Gibraltar Under-21s, before his career was brought to a premature end by injury at the age of 22.

• Bula was involved with the youth sides at Dover Rangers and Dover Athletic while studying in England, but got his big break in academy coaching at Slovakia’s FC Kosice - the same club where Chelsea defender Nemanja Matic cut his teeth.

• Three members of the national side currently ply their trade in England - defender Scott Wiseman is with Preston North End in League One, striker Adam Priestley plays for non-league Farsley while midfielder Jake Gosling plays for Conference side Bristol Rovers.

• Priestley was born in Gibraltar as a result of his father serving there with the RAF. He has scored three goals in his last two games, against Glasshoughton Welfare and Radcliffe Borough.

• Gibraltar is the smallest country to hold UEFA membership - its population of just under 30,000 puts it below San Marino (c. 32,600) Liechtenstein (c. 37,100) and the Faroe Islands (c. 49,700).

• The island is ruled by Britain, and has been since 1713 under the terms outlined by the Treaty of Utrecht, but its sovereignty is still disputed by Spain.

• Notable Gibraltarians include singer-songwriter Albert Hammond (whose son, also Albert, plays guitar in the Strokes), fashion designer John Galliano and former Fulham goalkeeper Tony Macedo.

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