ATHENS — Greece continued its disastrous run in European Championship qualifying on Nov. 14 with a humiliating 1-0 defeat to the Faeroe Islands, while Northern Ireland surrendered its lead in Group F to Romania after a 2-0 defeat in Bucharest.
The result in Piraeus is almost certain to prompt the dismissal of coach Claudio Ranieri, who hasn’t won a game since taking over as Greece coach in the summer.
Greek Football Association President Giorgos Sarris has already called an emergency board meeting before Greece plays Serbia in a friendly on Nov. 18.
“I take full responsibility for the most unfortunate selection of this coach,” Sarris said. “At the emergency meeting … I will lead the changes necessary so that the national team never again has such a shameful evening.”
After the four minutes of injury time were up, several Faroe Island players were in tears as the whole squad and coaching staff celebrated what was only their country’s third victory in European qualifying in 19 years. Its last triumph was a 2-0 win over Estonia in 2011. The visiting team was even applauded by Greek fans at Karaiskaki Stadium.
A remote nation of 50,000 inhabitants, the Faroes is ranked 187th among 208 nations in FIFA, while Greece is ranked 18th.
“The coach is responsible for every result and I am responsible for this one,” Ranieri said. “We are bottom of the group and that’s where we deserve to be.”
Joan Edmundsson scored the only goal in the 61st minute, firing in a ball that fell favorably in front of Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. The visitors had earlier missed three clear opportunities to score.
“We knew we could do something, but thought beating Greece away from home was a bit unlikely. They had possession but we had the chances,” Edmundsson said. “I don’t know if we deserved to win, but we think we did.”
Greece, the European champion in 2004, was on the defensive at home, coming alive too late, as Panagiotis Kone missed two late chances, hitting the bar in the 89th minute.
“It’s just too soon to understand what happened. I congratulate the Faeroe Islands. Good for them. They fought the way Greece used to, when we played like champions,” Kone said.
In Bucharest, Romania looked rejuvenated under coach Anghel Iordanescu, who has returned for a third spell in charge of the national team, while Northern Ireland saw its run of three victories come to an end.
Paul Papp scored twice in six minutes in the second half, finally beating goalkeeper Roy Carroll who had been key to his country’s previous wins.
“We defended well enough … But I don’t think we were as good on the ball as we were in our previous three games,” Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes said.
There was a late winner at Budapest’s Groupama Arena, where Hungary’s Zoltan Gera scored in the 84th minute to beat Finland 1-0 and claim third place in the group — two points behind Northern Ireland.