Football: Gibraltar Eye Surprise On Long-awaited World Cup Bow

Football: Gibraltar eye surprise on long-awaited World Cup bow

MADRID, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -5th Sep,2016) - With a population of just 33,000 and barely any professional players, Gibraltar would need a miracle to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, but FIFA's newest member is still dreaming big.

Gibraltar finally won a long battle with FIFA in June when they were accepted alongside Kosovo to join the European qualification stages for the World Cup, starting with Tuesday's home clash with Euro 2004 winners Greece.

Despite fierce opposition from neighbouring Spain due to the political standoff over Gibraltar's status as an overseas British territory, it has been a member of UEFA since 2013.

However, it was only after a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over FIFA's refusal to accept Gibraltar's bid for membership in 2014 that football's governing body finally backed down.

"FIFA membership was hugely important for the development of the national team," Dennis Beiso, the general secretary of the Gibraltar Football Association told AFP. "Had we not acquired FIFA membership earlier this year, it would have meant the national team would have had to wait until 2018 for competitive international football.