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Gibraltar makes international debut in 0-0 draw with Slovakia in Portugal


La selección de fútbol de Gibraltar (izquierda) y la de Eslovaquia escuchan los himnos nacionales antes de un juego amistoso, el primero de Gibraltar como integrante de la UEFA, el martes 19 de noviembre de 2013. (Foto de AP/Francisco Seco) (The Associated Press)

Gibraltar debuted as a recognized international team Tuesday, playing to a surprising 0-0 draw with Slovakia in an exhibition game.

The British colony overcame Spanish opposition in May to become the 54th — and smallest — full member of European soccer's governing body.

The match was played at the Estadio do Algarve in Portugal while Gibraltar's stadium undergoes renovations to meet European standards.

A few hundred fans, including Gibraltar First Minister Fabian Picardo, made the four-hour drive from the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula to support the team and then celebrate the unexpected result. The venue, which had the capacity to hold the nearly 30,000 inhabitants of Gibraltar, was otherwise empty.