Almost all of the 46,000 people in the Faroe Islands, a North Atlantic archipelago, were on the streets of Torshavn, the capital, as the soccer team returned after beating Austria, 1-0, in its first international game, a European Championship qualifier in Sweden.

In Vienna, the leading Austrian paper, Kronenzeitung, ran a banner front page headline: "0-1 vs. Island Team. Our Soccer Players -- the Laughing Stock of Europe." Austrian Coach Josef Hickersberger, who recently signed a 3 1/2-year contract extension, said he probably would resign. "A longer future with the team is hardly thinkable for me," he said. "I would like to step down at once."

The Faroes, an autonomous Danish province between Denmark and Iceland, were given permission earlier this year to field international soccer teams. Since grass doesn't grow well on the islands, all the stadiums have artificial turf and "home" games must be played at neutral sites.

Pall Gudlaugsson, the Iceland-born coach, said: "These are boys who live on barren islands in the middle of the Atlantic. They're used to hard work and they have to fight for their living. That approach led us to victory." . . .

Tony Meola, starting goalkeeper for the U.S national team, signed with Watford of the English second division. Meola, a 21-year-old from Kearny, N.J., who was playing for Virginia when he won the Hermann Trophy last season as U.S. college player of the year, played two games with second division Brighton earlier this month without a contract.

"I'm confident that once I adjust to the style of play, I can be successful," he said. "This is a much different game from the slower-paced international game, because in England there's no such thing as a goalkeeper slowing things down."