England vs Lithuania: 10 things to know about the opponent
With England’s first Euro 2016 qualification game this year coming up, the UK-licensed online sportsbook TonyBet claims to have interrogated their Lithuanian football experts in order to find out more about England’s opponent.
Here’s what they found out:
- Friday’s game will be the first one between England and Lithuania in history. Founded back in 1922, the Lithuanian Football Federation has never delegated a team to play against England.
- The current Lithuanian squad has two players representing clubs from Great Britain: defender Marius Zaliukas plays for Glasgow Rangers while youngster Simonas Stankevicius represents the Leicester City academy.
- In the entire Lithuanian football history, the country had only one man to play for a Premier League side. In 2000, Tomas Danilevicius signed a contract with Arsenal after scoring in a pre-season friendly against Barcelona. However, his career with the Gunners didn’t last as he left on loan after appearing in just three League and FA Cup games as a substitute.
- In September 2006, Lithuania drew 1-1 in a UEFA Euro qualification game in Naples against the freshly-baked World Cup winners Italy. It was none other than Danilevicius who scored on the Lithuanian side.
- With a total of 19 international goals, Danilevicius remains the all-time Lithuanian top goal scorer. He’s also third on the most appearances list with 71 caps for his country.
- Back in 2003, Lithuania drew 1-1 with Germany in Nuremberg. Tomas Razanauskas who scored for the Lithuanian side was then named Europe’s player of the week.
- Although Lithuania might boast some “impressive” draws, they also have some equally impressive defeats. In 2009, they lost 1:2 to the Faroe Islands in their World Cup qualification campaign while in 2012 Euro qualification Lithuania suffered a 0:2 defeat in Lichtenstein.
- Although Lithuania never played against England, they have a rather long-lasting history with Scotland. The teams played a total of seven games against each other with Scotland taking down four victories, recording two draws and Lithuania scoring one win.
- Lithuanians make up for one of the biggest immigrant groups in UK and are expected to fill their entire 1,500-seat sector at Wembley on Friday.
- Lithuania has never played in the final rounds of the UEFA Euro or the World Cup competitions.