Monthly Archives: September 2013

World Cup Qualifier: San Marino 1-5 Poland

10thSeptember 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino

San Marino 1-5 Poland


Oh my!  Oh net bulging, goal scoring, my!  They only went and scored a goal!  And not just any old goal either, but an equalising goal.  I could only have been bettered if they’d actually taken the lead.

Alessandro Della Valle is the man of the moment, with San Marino’s first competitive goal for five long years.  Let’s celebrate this for all it’s worth – it could be a while before this happens again… Continue reading

World Cup Qualifier: Ukraine 9-0 San Marino

6thSeptember 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Arena Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine (Att. 34,000)

Ukraine 9-0 San Marino


A full house in Lviv came expecting to see blood, and that’s exactly what they got.  In fact it was Ukraine’s biggest ever international win in their 20 or so years of history.  It’s no coincidence that this was also their first match against San Marino.

For Ukraine this served as useful target practice ahead of next week’s rather bigger match with England, but for San Marino it was never going to be anything other than a futile attempt at stemming the tide. Continue reading

SAFF Championships: Sri Lanka 5-2 Bhutan

6thSeptember 2013
SAFF Championships Group Stage
Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal

Sri Lanka 5-2 Bhutan

SriLankaBhutanSAFFSadly there is to be no rise from the foot of the world rankings for Bhutan for the time being.  A third straight defeat in the SAFF Championships group stages means an end to such lofty dreams.  They did manage to score twice however, which is the first time they’ve achieved that in five defeats to Sri Lanka.  A small crumb of comfort perhaps.

Bhutan’s first goal came from Passang Tshering on the stroke of half-time, by which time they were already 3 down.  Another was added by Sonam Tenzing in the second half, but not before Sri Lanka had already banged in a fourth. Continue reading

Preview: Sri Lanka v. Bhutan

6thSeptember 2013
SAFF Championships Group Stage
Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal

Sri Lanka v. Bhutan


And so to the final nail in the coffin chance for a result for Bhutan, and indeed for Sri Lanka as the two sides battle it out to proves they are slightly better than inept.  Having both lost in various humblings to Afghanistan and Maldives, qualification for the semi finals in a long forgotten dream.  It is all about not being bottom of the group.

For our intrepid Bhutanese this is the most realistic chance of something other than a defeat, and the chance to climb from the foot of the world rankings.

History is not in their favour however.  In four previous meetings, Bhutan have achieved the square root of bugger all, managing four defeats, 11 goals against, and no goals scored.  Three of these defeats came in SAFF Championships group matches, with the match in Colombo in 2008 being something of an outlier for the now worst in the world team. Remarkably that match saw the two teams fight over top spot in the group, as both made it through to the knock out stages. Times have changed…

Past meetings:

4thApril 2006 AFC Challenge Cup Chittagong, Bangladesh Bhutan 0-1 Sri Lanka
6thJune 2008 SAFF Championships Group Stage Colombo, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 2-0 Bhutan
6thDecember 2009 SAFF Championships Group Stage Dhaka, Bangladesh Sri Lanka 6-0 Bhutan
3rdDecember 2011 SAFF Championships Group Stage New Delhi, India Sri Lanka 3-0 Bhutan

San Marino back into the firing line

FiringLineThis week sees San Marino’s hapless heroes entering the World Cup fray again with a double header of fixtures.  A trip to Lviv in Ukraine is first up on Friday night for the first of two meetings with Ukraine in the next few weeks.  Then on Tuesday it’s back home to entertain Poland.  Hopes are not high.

This will be the first ever meeting between Ukraine and San Marino, but the nation ranked 28thin the world are unlikely to be worried about this one.

By contrast Tuesday sees the 8th meeting between Poland and San Marino, with the Sammarinese yet to find the net in the previous 7 defeats, with 28 goals finding the San Marino net.

Things have actually got worse over the years, after the first meeting in 1993 in a World Cup qualifier saw a mere 1-0 win for Poland in Lodz.  But a 2010 World Cup qualifier in Kielce in 2009 saw a whopping 10-0 win for the Poles.

An interesting nugget of trivia?  Poland have never qualified for a tournament when San Marino have been in their qualifying group.  This is the fourth time they’ve been drawn together, and Poland’s qualification hopes are on a knife edge.  History to repeat itself?  You read it here first.

Most recently the teams meet back in march when Poland won 5-0 in Warsaw, but San Marino came damn close to scoring with a one-on-one breakaway sadly being saved.

Previous meetings:

28thApril 1993 World Cup Qualifier Lodz Poland 1-0 San Marino
19thMay 2003 World Cup Qualifier Serravalle San Marino 0-3 Poland
7thSept 2002 Euro Qualifier Serravalle San Marino 0-2 Poland
2ndApril 2003 Euro Qualifier Ostrowiec Poland 5-0 San Marino
10thSept 2008 World Cup Qualifier Serravalle San Marino 0-2 Poland
1stApril 2009 World Cup Qualifier Kielce Poland 10-0 San Marino
26thMarch 2013 World Cup Qualifier Warsaw Poland 5-0 San Marino Report

SAFF Championships: Bhutan 2-8 Maldives

4thSeptember 2013
SAFF Championships Group Stage
Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal

Bhutan 2-8 Maldives

MaldivesBhutanSo I got it part right then.  A hefty number of goals for the Maldives wasn’t a particularly difficult prediction, but two goals for Bhutan is something of a result.

This is the first time in three meeting that Bhutan have managed to find a way to the Maldivian net, so doing so twice, despite the predictable hefty defeat, is rather pleasing.

However that tells only a fraction of the story.  Bhutan fell behind early, but two first half goals from Passang Tschering and Chencho Gyeltshen actually put Bhutan into the lead.  It could even have been better, with Tshering Dorji hitting the post prior to Bhutan’s first. Continue reading

SAFF Championships: Afghanistan 3-0 Bhutan

2ndSeptember 2013
SAFF Championships Group Stage
Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal

Afghanistan 3-0 Bhutan


Despite suffering a loss, Bhutan actually put up something of a decent fight in their opening match of the SAFF Championships. Bhutan even created the first chance of the match – Sonam Tenzin firing wide in the 10th minute. Shortly after that, Afghanistan could have taken the lead but goalkeeper Leki Dukpa saved well.

While Afghanistan’s superiority was clear, and they dominated the play, Bhutan managed to stifle and frustrate their higher ranked opponents during a fairly even first half. That was until the 37th minute when a corner found Hashmatullah Barakzai who headed back across goal where Haroon Amiri nicked in ahead of the defender to head his side ahead. Continue reading