Against all odds.

That pretty much sums up the situation every Faroese sports team finds itself in when it competes in international competitions. But one of the great things about sports is that you can never be 100 per cent certain of the result. The Faroe Islands have time and time again achieved the impossible with impressive victories against international competition – against all odds.


The Faroe Islands national football team beating footballing giants Austria in their first-ever competitive match must be considered one of the greatest David versus Goliath stories in sporting history. The match was played on September 12, 1990, in Landskrona, Sweden (the Faroe Islands didn’t have their own FIFA-approved pitch at that time). About an hour into the match, Faroese footballer/salesman Torkil Nielsen skips past a few Austrian defenders and scores against Austrian goalkeeper Michael Konsel. Pure euphoria.

Faroe Islanders sitting at home watching the match on television can’t believe what they’re seeing. That exhilaration is eclipsed at the final whistle when Goliath finally tumbles to the ground. Faroe Islanders from all across the country leave their homes and gather in streets and centres to celebrate together long into the night. Upon their return home, the Faroe Islands national team are greeted by thousands of Faroe Islanders at the airport as national heroes!

Although the footballing results that immediately followed didn’t quite live up to that first phenomenal result, Faroese football has progressed immensely in the past 25 years. Improved facilities, an influx of foreign players, qualified coaches, and financial backing from UEFA, among other things, have had a great impact on the domestic Faroese football league. Club teams regularly get good results in European competitions, and there are currently about 10 Faroese players playing professionally in various leagues in Europe. The latest evidence of the progress of Faroese football is two recent victories (home and away) against Greece in the 2016 European Championships Qualifiers. Against all odds.

Visit the Faroese Football Association’s website to find more information about Faroese football.


Handball in the Faroe Islands is more than just a sport; it's a passionate and integral part of the local sporting culture. Embraced by communities across the islands, handball has grown into a popular pastime that unites players and fans alike. The Faroese Handball Association oversees the sport's development, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie and competition. With a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes, handball matches in the Faroe Islands become spirited gatherings, where both players and spectators share in the joy of the game. The commitment to handball reflects the islands' resilience and determination. A great example of this is our national Handball team, which in 2023 celebrated qualifying for its first-ever European Handball championship. At the #EHFEURO2024 held in Berlin, Germany, the young team (with an average age of 21) made a historical draw against the Norwegian giants and what felt like a true victory for the 5.000 supporters at the Mercedes Stadium, or close to 10% of our whole nation, who travelled to Berlin, Germany, to support our young lads. A match that truly will go down in history as one of our greatest achievements. Read a personal rendering by one of the players from the match in Berlin, Helgi Hoydal, below. 


Despite the massive popularity of football on the remote North Atlantic islands, rowing is the national sport of the Faroe Islands. Rowers use traditional open Faroese boats, ranging from six to ten oars, with races ranging from 1000 to 2000 metres. The rowing season is short, from around early June to late July, but rowers train for many months before the first competition. Seven rowing races are held individually at regional village festivals. The final race is held during Ólavsøka in late July.

The races occur in the ocean, meaning the wind, waves and currents are all important elements for the rowers to consider. In some cases, these elements almost single-handedly decide who wins. Although Faroese rowing boats do not compete internationally, just the fact that small rowing boats can compete in the North Atlantic Ocean is against all odds.


Faroese swimmers have made quite the waves in more controlled waters – none more than world-class swimmer Pál Joensen. Born and raised in the village of Vágur on the southernmost island of Suðuroy (population: 1400), Pál started honing his swimming skills in Vágur’s 25-metre swimming pool (the standard size for competitive swimming is 50 metres).

Soon after, Pál started setting Nordic records and competing in European and World Aquatics Championships. In 2012, he won the Faroe Islands’ first-ever World Swimming Championship medal (silver), a tremendous achievement considering the training environment Pál was brought up. Pál represented Denmark at the London Summer Olympics in three events that same year. In honour of Pál and his achievements, the community of Vágur built a 50-metre swimming pool in 2015. Its name? Páls Høll (Pál’s hall), of course!

Pál Joensen’s talent and relentless determination have yielded unprecedented success in Faroese sport and propelled him to the very top of the list of Faroese athletes. Pál is a source of inspiration for Faroese swimmers and athletes as a whole—the perfect example of achieving the seemingly impossible, even when you’re up against all odds.

Visit the Faroe Islands Swimming Association’s website for more information about swimming in the Faroe Islands.


Gymnastics and athletics are among the other sports that are played in the Faroe Islands.