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  • Ten Things You Didn’T Know About England’S Next Opponents, Andorra

Ten things you didn’t know about England’s next opponents, Andorra

They have a 41-year-old record goalscorer and a national stadium that holds 3,000 but don’t whatever you do get them confused with FC Andorra.

On Saturday, England resume their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to face Andorra.

Sitting only above San Marino in the Group I table, Andorra present little threat to England's relentless march towards Qatar 2022.

The two sides have met five times in competitive matches, with England having won those five games by a combined score of 20-0.

Andorra will often be presented as minnows and underdogs but there's a lot more to them than being the whipping boys of international soccer.
Planet Sport brings you 10 things you might not have known about the Andorran soccer team.

Remembering victory in October 2019

Prior to Andorra's 2-0 win over San Marino at the start of September, the last time Andorra tasted victory in a competitive match was October 11, 2019. They defeated Moldova 1-0 thanks to a 63rd-minute header from Marc Vales, with the visitors' Radu Ginsari seeing red.

That was their first competitive win since June 2017, when they beat Hungary.

Oh, when the Tricolors go marching in

The vertical blue, yellow, and red stripes on the principality's flag give the team their nickname of the Tricolors, and the Andorran Football Federation incorporates the colours into its logo.
Having the three primary colours to work with also makes Macron's job of designing the team's kits rather easy, with their home, away, and third kit all primarily featuring one of the three.

It's coming home in 1996

Football was certainly coming home in England in 1996, but at the same time Messrs Baddiel and Skinner were climbing the charts, Andorra were also preparing to host international soccer, and for the first time ever.
Estonia were Andorra's first opponents in a friendly played in November 1996, a match which the Tricolors lost 6-1 in front of a crowd of 1,500.

Nice to see you again, Estonia

Since that first match 25 years ago, Andorra have gone on to play Estonia 12 times, making Sinisargid (the Blueshirts) the Tricolors' most commonly faced opponent.
Admittedly, they have lost all 12, by an aggregate score of 28-5, but have more success against their second-most common opponent, Latvia, whom they have met on nine occasions, drawing three and losing six.

Eight victories from 176 games

Andorra's first ever victory was against another former Soviet Union country, Belarus, whom they beat 2-0 in a home friendly in April 2000 thanks to second-half goals from Jesus Lucendo and Juli Sanchez.

Since then, they have gone on to beat six more opponents, including Albania, Liechtenstein and Macedonia, alongside San Marino who they have now defeated twice.

Making an opposition manager resign

In 2004, they beat Macedonia 1-0 courtesy of a volley from Marc Bernaus on the hour-mark.

Macedonia, now known as North Macedonia, had four days previously held the mighty Netherlands to a 2-2 draw.

The fall from grace was too much for manager Dragan Kanatlarovski who subsequently resigned, referring to the defeat as "a shameful outcome".

Don't confuse them with FC Andorra

Several microstates have teams competing in the domestic soccer leagues of much larger neighbours - think AS Monaco in France. Did you know, however, that FC Andorra are a domestic team that compete in the Spanish league system?
Founded in 1942, they share the nickname of the Tricolors, but pre-date the international side by more than 50 years. They have spent most of their existence in Spain's third tier, and will compete at that level in 2021/22.

A centre-back is their captain, record appearance-maker, and all-time top scorer

A utility man who can fill a variety of roles is a prized asset in any soccer team, but Andorra's Ildefons Lima takes that to extremes, as, not content with scoring 11 goals in 130 Tricolors games, he's also the side's captain.

He made his international debut in 1997, and at the age of 41, is still going strong (although he has had to settle for a place on the bench in recent times).

His goalscoring record means he has netted more than 20% of all the goals Andorra have scored, and he is one of only two men to reach a century of caps for the national team.

Their current manager is the first Andorran to hold the role

Since 2010, the Tricolors have been managed by Koldo Alvarez, the fourth man to hold the position and the first Andorran to do so.
He was born in Spain, but moved to Andorra aged 23 when he was signed by FC Andorra - remember them? - and became a naturalised citizen.

In his time as national team manager, the former goalkeeper has overseen five wins in 90 games.

Derby day attendances

Andorra's current stadium, the Estadi Nacional in the country's capital of Andorra la Vella, holds just over 3,000 people, and was opened in 2014. The record attendance for an Andorra home match came in 2019 at the new stadium, when 3,300 people watched a 4-0 reverse to neighbours France.

There may not be much of a hotly-contested rivalry, but both French and Andorran soccer fans clearly like watching the derby, as the all-time record for any match involving Andorra was the 75,416 who witnessed the same fixture at Paris' Stade de France in 1998.

READ MORE: Six of the best: England's biggest victories in World Cup qualifiers

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