Lithuania have struggled in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying thus far. After missing out on the play-offs for France 1998 by a single point, they finished bottom of their group four years later following two draws in eight games, meaning they were absent from the finals in Korea and Japan. Despite conceding just nine goals in ten matches during the Germany 2006 qualifying campaign, Lithuania still only managed to finish in fifth. They did post victories against three previous World Cup participants (Romania, Austria and Serbia) in South Africa 2010 qualifying, but nevertheless ended up fourth in their group – a fate they suffered once more en route to Brazil 2014.
Lithuania are currently searching for new players to spearhead the side and follow in the footsteps of record goalscorer Tomas Danilevicius and the country’s most-capped player Andrius Skerla. Great emphasis is put on technical ability as well as a willingness to work hard and cover plenty of ground. Defender Marius Zaliukas is the player tasked with leading the team successfully through their European qualifying group.
Igoris Pankratjevas was appointed national team coach in December 2013 after three months in the role in a caretaker capacity. The former defender earned four international caps in his playing days and is now aiming to help the next generation of Lithuania’s finest footballers develop further in order to achieve the long-term objective of one day qualifying for a major international tournament.
2 – Lithuania earned global headlines on two occasions thanks to two remarkable draws in UEFA EURO qualifying. In March 2003 they drew 1-1 away to a Germany side that finished as World Cup runners-up the previous year, and in September 2006 they achieved the same scoreline against Italy, reigning world champions at the time.
The former stars
Valdas Ivanauskas, Aurelijus Skarbalius, Edgaras Jankauskas