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Jehle living Liechtenstein 'dream'

Published: Wednesday 5 May 2010, 16.09CET
Liechtenstein will welcome Spain in the holders' first EURO qualifier and long-time No1 Peter Jehle tells UEFA.com about the spirit within the squad and the "dream" of visiting Hampden Park.
by Paul Saffer
from Vaduz
Jehle living Liechtenstein 'dream'
Peter Jehle has been Liechtenstein's No1 goalkeeper since 1998 ©Getty Images
 
Published: Wednesday 5 May 2010, 16.09CET

Jehle living Liechtenstein 'dream'

Liechtenstein will welcome Spain in the holders' first EURO qualifier and long-time No1 Peter Jehle tells UEFA.com about the spirit within the squad and the "dream" of visiting Hampden Park.

On 3 September, Spain begin the defence of the UEFA European Championship in a country that lies in between the two 2008 host nations, yet had little chance of making those finals. But while Liechtenstein start as outsiders in UEFA EURO 2012 Group I against the holders, the Czech Republic, Scotland and Lithuania, the Alpine principality – home to just 35,000 people – have in recent years held Portugal and Slovakia, and beaten Latvia and Iceland.

This is what football is about – one ball, 90 minutes and 11 players against 11 players, even if one country has 250 million inhabitants or, like Liechtenstein, 35,000
Peter Jehle

Peter Jehle, who made his debut in goal aged 16 in the 1998 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan, remains the regular No1. The FC Vaduz player, formerly with Grasshopper-Club and Boavista FC, spoke to UEFA.com about their qualifying hopes, the special spirit within the Liechtenstein squad and his memories of 12 years of international football.

UEFA.com: What do you think of your group?

Peter Jehle: Of course it is a very difficult group. We have very strong teams but first of all it is a great group for us because we have the honour of playing at Hampden Park in Scotland, one thing that is a dream for us because this stadium is world famous at national-team level. Then we have to play a very strong Spain team, at the moment maybe the best team in the world. And of course a Czech side that are also very difficult. In Lithuania we have a team that is maybe within our range, but it will be hard as in the last two qualifying campaigns they have shown they will be a good team in the future; they had really good results. It will be difficult but it is a fantastic group.

UEFA.com: Do teams take Liechtenstein more seriously than they used to?

Jehle: Other teams have seen our results and they are now aware that we can draw against or beat a team that is not concentrating against us. But normally we are of course the outsiders and it is still a very long way for us to go in the range of the medium-level teams. We will always be a small country with only a few professionals but our goal should be to have a team that is fully professional, and then we also have the advantage that as a small country we can get together many times and maybe get even better results.

UEFA.com: What does it mean for a country like Liechtenstein to be able to compete with the biggest nations?

Jehle: This is something I am very happy about, that FIFA and UEFA make it possible for smaller countries to play against the bigger countries. This is something rare in the sports world, this is a special thing about football. This is what football is about – one ball, 90 minutes and 11 players against 11 players, even if one country has 250 million inhabitants or, like Liechtenstein, 35,000. For me personally it is a big advantage as I am now 28 and already have the luck to have 80 caps.

UEFA.com: Does having fewer players to choose from, and therefore a team that does not change much, help team spirit?

Jehle: That's right and there is one thing even more interesting – we are such a small country, with a lot of players I grew up as a child with, we have been friends since we were born, we went to school together. It is like a family and this one thing I personally really like and it is always an honour to play for Liechtenstein.

UEFA.com: What are your most memorable games with Liechtenstein?

Jehle: The game against England at Old Trafford in Manchester, playing Spain too. I also love to remember the games when we took some points especially the game at home against Portugal where we drew 2-2; that was an amazing moment.

Last updated: 05/05/10 18.51CET

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