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"San Marino football team" redirects here. For the club that competes in Italy'smarker Serie C2, see San Marino Calcio.


The San Marino national football team is the national football team of San Marinomarker, controlled by the San Marino Football Federation. The team has enjoyed very little success, due to the republic's tiny population, the smallest of any UEFA country.

The first official game played by a San Marino team was a 0–4 defeat in a European Championships qualifier to Switzerland in 1990. Previously, a San Marino side had lost 0–1 to a Canadian Olympic team in 1986, but this was not an official match. Since making their competitive bow San Marino have competed in qualifying for every European Championships and World Cup, but have never won a match in either competition. They have only ever won one game, beating Liechtenstein 1–0 in a friendly match on 28 April 2004.

History

Though the San Marino Football Federation formed in 1931, the federation did not establish a national team until 1986, when a team representing the Federation played Canadamarker's Olympic team in an unofficial international. San Marino gained affiliation to governing bodies FIFAmarker and UEFA in 1988, allowing the team to participate in major championships. Prior to this, Sammarinese players had been considered Italian in international football contexts.

San Marino's first match in a FIFA sanctioned competition was against Switzerland on 14 November 1990 in a qualifier for the 1992 European Championships. San Marino lost 4–0, and went to lose all eight qualifiers. The team particularly struggled in away matches, losing every one by at least four goals. San Marino scored only one goal, a penalty in a 3–1 defeat at home to Romania, and conceded 33 goals in total.

For their first World Cup qualifying campaign San Marino were drawn in a group with England, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Turkey. The opening match resulted in a 10–0 hammering at the hands of Norway. The return match was less one-sided, finishing 2–0 to the Norwegians. A 4–1 defeat in Turkey saw San Marino score their first World Cup goal, and a 0–0 draw against the same opposition on 10 March 1993 gave them their first ever point. In their final qualifier, against England, Davide Gualtieri scored the fastest goal in World Cup Qualifying history, after 8.3 seconds, though the team went on to lose 7–1. San Marino finished the campaign with one point and 44 goals conceded.

Qualification for Euro 96 followed a similar pattern to that of the previous European championships, losing every game. A match away to Finland gave San Marino their first goal away from home in the European championships, but the team lost 4–1. Their only other goal came in a 3–1 home defeat to fellow minnows the Faroe Islands; the two wins over San Marino were the only points gained by the Faroe Islands and the return match, a 3–0 scoreline in Toftirmarker, is the Faroes' record competitive win.

Even by Sammarinese standards, qualification for the 1998 World Cup was disappointing. Losing every game by three goals or more, San Marino failed to score a single goal. This is the only World Cup qualifying tournament in which they have failed to score. Qualification for Euro 2000 again resulted in defeats in every game. The closest game was against Cyprus, a 1–0 defeat on 18 November 1998.

In April 2001 San Marino gained their first ever away point, drawing 1–1 with Latvia in Rigamarker. The team ended the 2002 World Cup qualifying group with a new best of three goals, though one of these came in a 10–1 defeat to Belgium. In Euro 2004 qualifying San Marino lost all eight matches, failing to score. The closest result was a 1–0 home defeat to Latvia, with the winner scored in the last minute.

In April 2004 San Marino gained their first, and as of April 2009 only, win at the 65th attempt, a 1–0 victory over Liechtenstein in a friendly in 2004 courtesy of a fifth minute goal by Andy Selva.The match was Martin Andermatt's debut as Liechtenstein coach. Results during qualification for the 2006 World Cup followed a similar vein to previous qualifying groups. Matches were generally one-sided defeats, with the exception of single goal defeats at home to Lithuania and Belgium.

San Marino's opening Euro 2008 qualifying match resulted in a record 13–0 defeat at home to Germany on 6 September 2006. They scored only twice and conceded fifty-seven goals in losing all twelve matches, although the home matches against Ireland, Cyprus and Wales were each lost by a single goal.

In the qualification tournament for the 2010 World Cup, they lost all ten matches played and failed to qualify. They conceded 47 goals in those fixtures, including 10 in a defeat to , which became their highest scoring victory to date, and scored just once, in a 3-1 defeat to .

Stadium

San Marino play home matches at the Stadio Olimpicomarker, a municipally owned stadium in Serravallemarker which also hosts the matches of club side San Marino Calcio. It has a capacity of 5,387. Crowds are low, and on occasion travelling supporters outnumber the Sammarinese support. For example, in the fixture against the Republic of Ireland in February 2007, 2,500 of the 3,294 crowd were Irish supporters.

San Marino have played two "home" matches outside their borders. For World Cup qualifiers against England and the Netherlands in 1993 the Stadio Renato Dall'Aramarker in Bolognamarker was used.

Minnow reputation

San Marino's dismal record gives them a lowly reputation in world football. The republic have never won a competitive fixture; a 1–0 friendly match win against Liechtenstein is their sole victory to date. With the smallest population of any UEFA country, the talent pool is small. Players are predominantly amateurs, only a small number of players such as Andy Selva and Aldo Simoncini are professionals. Their 13–0 defeat at home to Germany is a European Championship record, and they have conceded ten goals on three other occasions. In the FIFA World Rankings, San Marino usually have the lowest rank of any UEFA country. Since the creation of the FIFA rankings in 1992, San Marino's average position has been 159th.

Opponents anticipate easy wins in matches against San Marino, and failure to win comfortably can reflect poorly on a team. In 2001 Latvia manager Gary Johnson was sacked after failing to beat San Marino in a World Cup qualifier; Republic of Ireland's narrow 2–1 win in February 2007 resulted in scathing press criticism.

Andy Selva, San Marino's all-time leading goalscorer with eight goals, is the only Sammarinese player to have scored more than one goal for the team.

Draws and victory



World Cup record



European Championship record



Players and managers

In January 2006 the Sammarinese Football Association named Massimo Bonini as their greatest ever player. The only Sammarinese player to have played in a European Cup final, Bonini represented Italy at under-21 level in the early 1980s, and he played for Juventus from 1981 to 1988, but was prevented from gaining full honours due to a rule change. By the time San Marino became a full UEFA member, Bonini was in his thirties, but gained 19 caps between 1990 and 1995.

After retiring from playing, Bonini became San Marino's coach, succeeding Giorgio Leoni. He held the position until 1998, when he was replaced by Giampaolo Mazza. As of 2007, Mazza is the longest-serving manager of any European national team.

The appearance record for San Marino is held by Mirco Gennari, who gained 48 caps between 1992 and 2003. Andy Selva is the record goalscorer with eight.

Current squad

The following players were called up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification against Poland on 10 September 2008.







Records

Top goalscorers



References

  1. (pdf)
  2. p149


See also



External links



#
Player
Career
Goals (caps)
Goals per match
1
Andy Selva
1998—
8 (44)
0.18

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