Liechtenstein celebrated an historic occasion in the development of football in the principality as its women made their international bow in April.
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"The long wait is over." This message, writ large in a presentation given to Liechtenstein’s national women’s team at the start of April’s week of football, said it all. For the 18 members of the squad, this meeting marked the start of the countdown to the team’s first official match, which was finally played on 11 April 2021 after several postponements caused by the pandemic.
This was a historic occasion, not only for the players but also for the Liechtenstein Football Association (LFV). Six years after its women’s U16 team’s international debut at a UEFA development tournament, all the work carried out by the clubs and the national association to develop the women’s game was rewarded when the senior team contested their inaugural match. "This not only marks the beginning of an exciting journey, it is the start of a new era," said a proud LFV president, Hugo Quaderer.
Coached by Philipp Riedener, the team played Luxemburg at home, with no spectators, and produced a surprisingly convincing performance. They showed patience, tireless commitment and even more passion. Of course, hopes had been high before the match, but nobody really knew how the team would fare against international opposition. After an intense 90 minutes in which Liechtenstein took the lead thanks to captain Viktoria Gerner, who scored the team’s first ever international goal, the match finished in a narrow 2-1 defeat. The result did nothing to diminish the sense of achievement.
The LFV general secretary, Peter Jehle, welcomed the boost that this successful milestone would give to women’s football in Liechtenstein. "Together," he said, "we have the chance, but also the responsibility, to bring our sport into the hearts of many future generations of female footballers."
The senior national team’s inaugural match was a huge success for everyone involved. Regardless of the final score, all the players can consider themselves winners. The pride and passion they showed from the minute they stepped onto the pitch were palpable even after the final whistle, as was the exhaustion of a team that had given it their all.