San Marino’s World Cup Odyssey

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European World Cup Qualifying gets under way this month and for us that means a swift return to action for San Marino after their encouraging yet ultimately disappointing friendly loss to Malta in August.  First up for the Sammarinese is a home tie against Montenegro on 11th September in Serravalle which represents quite a tough opening to what is, naturally, a very tough group with several familiar faces in it.

San Marino’s full fixture list for the qualifiers is as follows:

11th September 2012 Montenegro (H)
12th October 2012 England (A)
16th October 2012 Moldova (H)
14th November 2012 Montenegro (A)
22nd March 2013 England (H)
26th March 2013 Poland (A)
6th September 2013 Ukraine (A)
10th September 2013 Poland (H)
11th October 2013 Moldova (A)
15th October 2013 Ukraine (H)

Montenegro may be a small and relatively new country but have made a very impressive start to life as an independent football nation, reaching the play-offs for Euro 2012 having finished runner-up to England in that group.  They lost 3-0 on aggregate to the Czech Republic in that play-off but showed they a very much contenders for qualification.

So it’s a tough opener for San Marino, and anything other than a defeat would be truly astonishing.  Indeed in this group, only the games against Moldova are likely to provide anything other than a heavy defeat.  So let’s at least hope that San Marino get off to a reasonable start, by which I mean the scoreline isn’t too lop-sided.  A goal would be utterly magnificent.

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