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.