Those making the arduous trip to one of Europe's more far reaching, secluded, Northern entities tomorrow may not have a compelling spectacle at hand, but will certainly be doused with entertainment in the form of Runavik goalkeeper Andras Gango, whom, in the first leg, spent more time on the floor in a makeshift foetal position then he did standing up.
The Faroe Islands, for Danny Murphy at least, is a place rarely visited by footballers these days; especially not in early July. And, for those players that consider a trip north cushioned by a fanciful 3-0 lead as a lesser holiday, Mark Schwarzer has been quick to quell any potential complacency: "All you have to do is think about what would happen if you lose the game, that's enough motivation for anyone," the Australian stated to fulhamfc.com.
A 3-0 head start is perhaps more flattering for the travelling Fulham side than their first leg performance suggested. At some points, the match provided such dire viewing that the Hammersmith End could be heard to urge opposition players to shoot. They didn't, of course, and that is partly why even the most lackadaisical and half-hearted performance should see us comfortably progress to the next qualifying round tomorrow evening. The Craven Cottage tie, whilst painstaking at times, was only a fair reflection on a Fulham side not-so-freshly returning from a distinctly shortened Summer break. Jol may have put faith into a strong first team line-up, but a lack of match fitness was prevalent and an eye for goal certainly wasn't forthcoming, especially in Bobby Zamora's case.
The return tie should offer a more open and expansive game, with playing conditions probably dictating the flow of the game. With that in mind, Jol is unlikely to risk too many of his stars in his starting line-up, although the opportunity to assess his newly inherited first team may prove too compelling. Certainties to miss the game remain Clint Dempsey, Carlos Salcido and Moussa Dembele; the latter injured and the first two still away due to international ties.
NSI coach Pauli Poulsen, in the meantime, has labelled the up-and-coming second leg as "the biggest match many have experienced."
Score Prediction: NSI Runavik 0(0) - 3(6) Fulham
Predicted Line-Up: Schwarzer; Briggs, Hangeland, Senderos, Hughes; Davies, Frei, Sidwell, Duff; Zamora, A.Johnson