Few gave Liechtenstein much hope of ending a four-year wait for a competitive victory as they went into Friday's Group I meeting with Lithuania decimated by injuries and suspensions. Hans-Peter Zaugg's side are no slaves to expectation, however.
"What we've achieved is unbelievable," said goalkeeper Benjamin Büchel after a 2-0 triumph finally got Liechtenstein off the mark in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. "You don't see this every day. It was a superb performance by everyone, but especially in defence where we were incredibly strong today. The whole team just gave 100%. I was constantly hoping we would not concede and in the end the whole thing is just incredible."
Büchel was only in the side because established No1 Peter Jehle was ruled out, one of several high-profile absentees that also included striker David Hasler and the country's suspended record scorer, Mario Frick. Philippe Erne rose to the challenge of leading the line, breaking the deadlock on six minutes with a fine long-range effort – his first international goal. "I'm very happy about my goal but it doesn't really matter who scores," he said.
"It was important that we didn't lose our focus for a second, though, and gave it our all right until the end. It was a deserved victory." Michele Polverino's second before half-time meant they always had a cushion as Lithuania cranked up the pressure in the second half – there was no denying Liechtenstein only their eighth victory in 123 competitive matches, their first since October 2007.
I'm happy the team's dedication and determination was rewarded – it was a fine victory accomplished by the whole team," said Zaugg. "We're delighted to end our wait for points in this qualifying campaign and it is an important step for us. We didn't disappoint in recent matches, either, it is just that we never had anything to show for it. We are on the right track now though." He will hope they are still on it when the sides meet again on 2 September.
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