Category Archives: Ukraine

World Cup Qualifier: San Marino 0-8 Ukraine

15thOctober 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino (Att. 1,268)

San Marino 0-8 Ukraine


Well at least it wasn’t nine again.  That’s about all I can say about that.  What was nine however, was the number of players San Marino had left on the pitch by the end – red cards for Mirko Palazzi and Alessandro Della Valle.

Both of those players also gave away penalties, Della Valle in the first half to allow Ukraine to open the scoring after 13 minutes, and Palazzi in the second, for which he earned his marching orders with over half an hour still to go.  Della Valle’s red card came in the final minute for a second yellow in the aftermath of Ukraine’s 8th goal.

Marko Devic scored a hat-trick for Ukraine, but the win still wasn’t enough for Ukraine to take the top spot in the group and automatic qualification, thanks to England’s 2-0 win over Poland, but they head into the play offs with plenty of shooting practice under their belts.

As for San Marino, they of course showed only glimpses of endeavour.  On one occasion having gone a goal behind they did send several players up field for an attacking free kick.  What happened?  Ukraine cleared the free kick, broke quickly into the sparsely populated San Marino half and promptly scored their second, while the San Marino defence tried to hurry back and re-organise.

Even when they try and score it just results in another goal against.

SanMarino0-8UkraineSo the end of another campaign sees San Marino with another 10 straight defeats to their name, and a minus 53 goal difference to boot.  They did of course manage one goal against Poland recently, but other than that it was a total blank all round.

Where do they go from here?  Well the facile answer is that they go into a European Championship qualifying campaign and do it all over again.  But more than that, surely they need some other focus for their footballing ambitions?  Being humped on a regular basis can’t be fun.  What is to be lost by some of Europe’s true minnows arranging a few friendly fixtures against each other to at least have the opportunity to play some more attacking football once in a while?  And perhaps there would even be the chance of a victory every now and then.  Otherwise, just what is the point?

I’m not saying this trying to suggest that San Marino shouldn’t be taking part.  Quite the opposite in fact.  They, and all other nations, should be encouraged to compete as best they can in World Cup and European Championships alike.  But in addition to that an opportunity to try and win a few other games might be a worthwhile exercise, not only for trying to climb off the foot of the world rankings.

San Marino face difficulties that our other basement boys, Bhutan and Turks & Caicos Islands, don’t have, namely never competitively facing opposition that is not far above their standard and therefore potentially beatable.  They will always be in a different group from all other minnows and facing far bigger teams.  Defeat will follow defeat.

Similarly tiny Gibraltar will be on the UEFA scene shortly.  Surely a challenge match between San Marino and Gibraltar is the stuff of dreams for champions of the underdog?  I can only dream.

Final Group H Standings:

1. England Pl. 10 Pts. 22
2. Ukraine 10 21
3. Montenegro 10 15
4. Poland 10 13
5. Moldova 10 11
6. San Marino 10 0

World Cup Qualifier: Moldova 3-0 San Marino

11t October 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Zimbru Stadium, Chisinau, Moldova (Att. 5,000)

Moldova 3-0 San Marino


San Marino didn’t do too badly in Chisinau on Friday, lasting at 0-0 until beyond half-time.  Unfortunately a repeat of last month’s goal scoring heroics wasn’t to be, and ten minutes into the second half Moldova finally got their breakthrough.

Viorel Frunza beat Aldo Simoncini, who was restored to the team between the San Marino posts, after good work from Alexandru Antoniuc.  Eugeniu Sidorenco added a second after another goal mouth scramble, before banging home the third himself a minute from time.

Moldova played patiently throughout, presumably feeling that the breakthrough would eventually come. A policy that was clearly based on fact. This win broke Moldova’s run of four matches without a win. We eon’t go into how many matches San Marino now are without a win…

So all in all not a bad showing from San Marino; a goalless first half, and keeping the score to two before the final minute.  No goals scored though, for shame.

Group H now looks like this…

1. England Pl. 9 Pts. 19
2. Ukraine 9 18
3. Montenegro 9 15
4. Poland 9 13
5. Moldova 9 8
6. San Marino 9 0

All that remains now is for San Marino to act as sacrificial lambs to the slaughter against Ukraine on Tuesday night.  Ukraine will of course need a win to try and steal top spot from England, who face Poland on the same night.

Can San Marino avoid another 9 goal humping?  Let’s hope so.

End of the World – October 2013


San Marino’s final two fixtures in this World Cup campaign take place in the coming days, with a visit to the next worst team in the group, Moldova, on Friday followed by a home match with Ukraine next week.

Coming on the back of a goal scoring performance last time out against Poland, San Marino will be looking to repeat the unlikely feat in Chisinau.  Surely they can’t bang in another one can they?

They’ve not managed to breach the Moldovan net in four previous meetings so hopes aren’t high, but Moldova are rather inept themselves so let’s not rule out all hope. This fixture marks the fourth October in succession that this fixture has been played. Something of a record surely, but it hasn’t been a hapyp fixture for San Marino. Continue reading

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

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

They nearly scored! But didn’t. Poland 5-0 San Marino

26th March 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw

Poland 5-0 San Marino

A glance at the scoreline suggests the usual surrender to a stronger team, albeit with the goals account count not getting as high as might have been feared.

But beyond the scoreline there were a few incidents of real note for San Marino.  Firstly, Aldo Simoncini in goal made several decent stops, a couple of which were in the firsts 10 minutes alone.  And secondly, a last minute breakaway saw Danilo Rinaldi clean through on goal with only Artur Boruc to beat, and a chance to make a piece of Sammarinese footballing history. Continue reading