With just three minutes left on the clock in a Euro 2008 qualifier in early 2007, Ireland were 1-0 up. Then a terrible defensive mix-up between Irish goalkeeper Wayne Henderson and his centre backs allowed midfielder Michele Marani to gleefully roll the loose ball into the now unguarded Irish net. A comedy goal, but far from a laughing matter for the Irish who were now staring down the barrel of their most humiliating result. Continue reading →
The arrival of new coach Pierangelo Manzaroli must have been a breath of fresh air to the San Marino squad. After 16 years under the previous coach, a change of leader and a gentle change in outlook was surely a refreshing switch. Locked into their endless cycle of defeat, the arrival of a new coach who many of them had worked with successfully in the under-21 side, who famously beat Wales 2-1 in a European qualifier, would herald a renewed level of hope. Continue reading →
‘Defeat is our destiny,’ proclaimed Giampaolo Mazza, the former coach of San Marino’s national team. He knew what he was talking about. In sixteen years at the helm of the perennial losers of European football, Mazza had presided over eighty-five matches and his team lost all but three of them, often with a staggering number of goals conceded. Continue reading →
The latest FIFA rankings were published today with the confirmation that Anguilla’s sole remaining ranking points – two point left over from a 0-0 draw in a 2011 friendly match with the US Virgin Islands – have withered away to nothing. That last non-defeat now dating back more than four years it’s points no longer count towards Anguilla’s total, which now stands at a magnificent zero.
Of course this doesn’t make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Anguilla were already ranked last thanks to Bhutan’s rise so this hasn’t made any difference in terms of their labelling as the current worst in the world. Continue reading →
With the recent successful exploits of the San Marino team in grabbing a 0-0 draw with Estonia which saw them rise from the pits of global football despair known as the foot of the FIFA world rankings to the giddy heights of somewhere not far above the bottom, also known as joint 180th, it seemed appropriate to reward the most prominent hero of that achievement in a Hall of Fame.
The inaugural inductee into the newly formed World in the World Hall of Fame is the San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini, whose string of fine saves that had kept scores low in previous matches now saw San Marino claim a first ever competitive clean sheet.
Simoncini, a 28 year old semi professional who also moonlights as an accountant, has something of an interesting back story. As a teenager he played for Modena in Italy’s Serie B, a level only the great Massimo Bonini once of Juventus has exceeded as a Sammarinese, and was highly rated. But his dreams of making it into the professional ranks were ended by a terrible car accident after which he was unsure of even playing the game again, let alone climbing to higher levels. At the time the doctors weren’t even sure he’d be able to walk normally again. Continue reading →
They have had to wait years for this day to come along, but after the astonishing 0-0 draw with Estonia two weeks ago, San Marino are officially no longer the (joint) worst team in world football.
That single result, coming against a team ranked 120 places higher than them, and not only that but coming in a regional qualifier rather than a friendly and being part of a strong confederation in UEFA, has seen San Marino’s points tally rocket from a stone cold zero up to the startling total of 55. Continue reading →
Saturday 15th November 2014
European Championship Qualifying Group E
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino
San Marino 0-0 Estonia
Oh my! They’ve only gone and done it! After thirteen and a half long years without a competitive point in either World Cup or European Championship qualifying, San Marino secured a stunning 0-0 draw against Estonia. And stunning is the word, with Aldo Simoncini in goal earning the greatest of plaudits for his string of fine saves throughout, but with San Marino managing to provide something of a threat going forwards at times too, albeit an occasional and limited one.
Sadly only 759 lucky souls were in attendance to witness history being made, compared to the 5,700 who attended the 4-0 defeat to Switzerland last month. But those who stayed away missed the gaining of San Marino’s first ever European Championship point coming at the 60th attempt; their only two previous competitive non defeats coming in World Cup qualification. It is also just over a decade since they last tasted anything other than defeat in what is to date their only ever victory; a 1-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein in April 2004. Continue reading →