Despite losing 7-0 to Germany, Gibraltar's fans celebrated their players as champions as they left the pitch. For Brian, Sergio, Peter and Eric, this was a special chapter in Gibraltar's short history of internationals.
“Buena, buena, buena,” yells Sergio, standing up off his chair as Gibraltar charges forward. Once again the ball is blasted in the direction of Germany's goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. It's the fourth attack on goal in the half for Gibraltar - not bad for a team of part-timers against the world champions.
But before he sits back down Sergio has a warning. “In the second half, you watch, they will struggle with their fitness,” he says, in perfect English with a thick Spanish accent.
“It's a stamina problem,” adds Sergio's friend Brian, leaning over.
A long day
Speaking of stamina, it's been a long day for Sergio and Brian too. They piled into a car at 8am on Saturday morning together with their old friends Peter and Eric, to get to their 'home ground' in Faro.
All four of them are born-and-bred Gibraltarians, all four of them are new fans of the national team.
They are just one small part of around 5000 fans that came from Gibraltar to Faro, for the team's home game on a mild night in the southern Portuguese city. The reason they can't play at home: Gibraltar's Victoria Stadium is deemed not up to standard for internationals.
It's annoying for the fans, but you wouldn't have noticed it watching them celebrate their team. They remain in good spirits throughout the game – no matter what happens on the pitch.
“I don't know everyone here tonight, it's not like that,” says Sergio. “But I do recognize a lot of them by sight.”
The best is yet to come
Sadly, things do take a turn for the worse in the second half though, just as Sergio predicted. Gibraltar let in three goals in quick succession after the break and the home crowd goes quiet. At the same time, the German fan block on the other side of the stadium starts to break into song.
Still, the Gibraltarians keep cheering on their team. “C'mon Lee” yells one fan, calling his favorite player by his first name. There's something you don't hear every day at a European Championship qualifier.
But despite the friendly atmosphere, the Gibraltarians know that this isn't the standard that they should aim for. “We have just started at this level,” Sergio explains. “It's going to take a while for our players to get used to this atmosphere and this level.”
In fact all four Gibraltarians are convinced that – despite the heavy loss – tonight was an important step in Gibraltar's footballing history.
“We're very small, but when we unite we can be very strong,” Sergio says. “You wait.”