Tuesday 14th August will see San Marino take the field in what is possibly their most exciting fixture in years. To the rest of the world it may only be a friendly match between two of Europe’s worst footballing nations, but to us it’s a real opportunity for San Marino to finally score some ranking points.
San Marino will face Malta at home in the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle in what will be the first meeting of those two nations. Malta do of course sit comfortably higher up the rankings than San Marino (who doesn’t?) but being in 143rd in the world, and 48th in Europe makes them San Marino’s most beatable opposition in years. Although it should be noted that Malta have won their previous three friendly matches against the unlikely trio of Central African Republic, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
It’s always bothered me that the likes of San Marino don’t arrange a few easier fixtures every now and then, as a morale booster as much as anything else. It can’t be fun being a whipping boy in the world’s strongest confederation only ever looking to avoid humiliation. Also at the risk of over playing the importance of being Worst in the World, I refuse to believe that San Marino are as bad a team as those similarly stuck at the bottom of the world rankings, but since they always play big European nations they are doomed to be stuck on 0 points.
So that brings us to next Tuesday and a real chance to avoid defeat (asking for a win seems wildly optimistic) against Malta. At the very least, scoring a goal would be a reasonable morale boost even if defeat were to follow. Here’s hoping.