***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only one moon away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Lithuania, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Would rather be playing hoops
Nickname: Rinktine (National Team)
FIFA Ranking: 144 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage (UEFA) finishing below Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland
The tiny baltic nation of Lithuania couldn’t give a shit about football. There’s one thing and one thing only that the Lithuanian national football team wants to be doing, and it sure as shit ain’t playing football. It’s playing basketball. Hoops is all that it, along with all other Lithuanians care about, but unfortunately it’s stuck playing the shitty sport known as football.
The only reason the Lithuania national football team actually exists is because the national basketball team can only fit 12 on the roster, but if it were unlimited, you can bet your ass there’d be nothing but tumbleweeds rolling and bouncing across every single one of Lithuania’s football fields all across the country.
Throughout its short 32-year history as an independent nation, the Lithuania national football team has tolerated playing football, and even enjoyed itself occasionally, like finishing third and just one point shy of a playoff spot in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, a 1-1 draw away to Italy in Euro 2008 qualifying (Italy’s first competitive match after winning the 2006 World Cup), and a 2-1 defeat of eventual qualifiers Serbia, a 2-0 victory over Austria, and a “historic” 3-0 away thumping of Romania in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
Despite its status as a minnow of international football and having never qualifying for a major tournament, the Lithuanians have managed to pull off a number of impressive, giantbeating results, but if Lithuania’s being honest, it would’ve just preferred spending those nights playing hoops instead.
One to watch: Basketball.
Fuck watching the national soccer team. It’s the Lithuanian national basketball team that you wanna watch–The Other Dream Team. Hell, everyone else in Lithuania is. Home of Europe’s first ever purpose-built basketball arena in Kaunas (built to host 1939 Eurobasket), Lithuania won the final two Eurobasket championships prior to Soviet takeover in 1940, then won the 1988 Olympics gold medal (well, the USSR did, but with 4 Lithuanians in the starting lineup), then, once again as an independent nation won bronze at the 1992, 1996 and the 2000 Olympics, and then finished 4th in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. All for a country of 3 million people. It’s basketball matters, and nothing else. Ball or die.
Additionally, there is just one animated character that’s been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and it’s all because of Lithuania.
The creation of Skullman, a maniacal dunking skeleton, was commissioned with the help of The Grateful Dead and designed to help fund the Lithuania’s national basketball team’s first ever trip to an Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. And it worked, Lithuania not only got to the ’92 games, but it owned them on and off the court (apart from the Dream Team who pummelled everyone).
The Highpoint: 1 point shy of a playoff spot, 1998 World Cup qualifying but whatever, the 1988 Olympics Gold Medal, 1992, 1996, 2000 Olympics bronze medal, men’s basketball
Take your pick (not of football results though), because not long ago, Lithuania were one of the powerhouses of international basketball. They still maintain their position near the top of the tree, but its history is marked with successes in the 1988 Olympics with the USSR (where 4 of the starters were Lithuania) or one of the wealth of Olympic successes after that, including falling one buzzer beater away from beating the USA in Sydney.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
BALTIC CUP 2022
16 Nov 2022
LITHUANIA 🇱🇹 x 🇮🇸 ICELAND
19 Nov 2022
LITHUANIA 🇱🇹 x 🇱🇻 LATVIA or 🇪🇪 ESTONIA