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The first continental appearance
The first continental appearance

Villarreal played their first European tie against FH Hafnarfjörður in the 2002/03 Intertoto Cup

The Estadio de la Cerámica has hosted many European nights that live long in the memory. In the last 20 years, the Yellows’ stadium has been the home to four European semi-finals, and goals that will forever remembered, like Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s against Inter Milan in 2006, or Adrián López’s ten years later against Liverpool FC.

With so many memories, Villarreal CF’s European adventure started on 7th July 2002. That evening, the Submarine hosted FH Hafnarfjörður at what was then called El Madrigal. The match against the Icelandic side was the first leg of the second round of the Intertoto Cup.

Villarreal, managed by Víctor Muñoz, took to the El Madrigal pitch with the following lineup: López Vallejo, Galván, Quique Álvarez, Unai, Arruabarrena, Jorge López, Galca, Calleja, Palermo, Guayre, Víctor Fernández. The Yellows were better than their opponents, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Víctor and Galván.

The Yellows looked like they had the tie in the back before heading to Iceland, more than 3,000km from Vila-real. There, the Submarine drew against Hafnarfjörður (2-2), who went ahead twice. Jorge López and Galca were the men who scored for Villarreal on Icelandic soil to seal the place in the next round of the 2002 Intertoto Cup.

Nearly 18 years later, Villarreal have played 170 games in Europe, with 81 wins, 47 draws and 42 defeats.