Category Archives: European Championships

When Ireland broke San Marino hearts

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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

Gibraltar’s Man With The Plan: Jeff Wood

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Gibraltar may be one of Europe’s smallest, and newest, football nations, and home to just 33,000 people, but they are doing what they can to achieve as much as possible within their means.

That doesn’t mean chasing trophies or even qualification, but it does mean putting the structures and people in place to make the very best fist of things they can.

When Gibraltar began their first ever qualifying campaign, for Euro 2016, they had local man Allen Bula in charge. He was a charismatic, enthusiastic, and ambitious coach and he successfully steered the newly affiliated national team to some impressive early results – albeit in friendly matches rather than the competitive qualifiers. Continue reading

Gibraltar’s Battle for International Recognition

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After years of struggle, several applications, and in spite of repeated opposition, Gibraltar finally achieved their dream of becoming a FIFA member in May this year. It had taken a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling to finally see the team from the Rock admitted to global football’s family, but their long journey finally came to the end that the Gibraltar FA had been dreaming of for so long. Continue reading

Worst in the World Tales: San Marino’s Escape

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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

European Championships: San Marino 0-0 Estonia

Saturday 15th November 2014
European Championship Qualifying Group E
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino

San Marino 0-0 Estonia

a0995-san-marino-draw-against-estoniaOh 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

Match Report: European Championship: San Marino 0-4 Switzerland

Tuesday 14th October 2014
European Championships Qualifying Group E
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino

San Marino 0-4 Switzerland

SanMarino0-4SwizterlandA strong first half from the Swiss set them on their way to a predictably comfortable win in Serravalle over the Sammarinese boys in blue, who were missing top goal scorer Andy Selva to injury, replaced by Mattia Stefanelli. 

The win provided Switzerland with their belated first points of the group.  Coming into this game, Switzerland had suffered defeats to England, 2-0 at home, and Slovenia, 1-0 away.

But this was always going to be an easier task and two goals from Haris Seferovic in the opening 24 minutes meant that any fears of a shock result were well and truly dismissed early on.  A third was added before half an hour was up through Blerim Dzemaili and a fourth in the second half from Xherdan Shaqiri to garner Switzerland’s first points and drag them clear of San Marino at the bottom – a situation that was never likely to last for long. Continue reading

Euro 2016: San Marino Back In Action

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European Championships Qualifiers

England v. San Marino
Thursday 9th October 2014
European Championships Qualifying Group E
Wembley Stadium, London, England

San Marino continue their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with the latest edition of what is becoming something of a regular fixture in European qualifying.  Having met in the last round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, the two sides had also previously met famously in 1994 World Cup qualifying.

On those occasions, England won by six goals in both matches but of course it was San Marino’s goal through David Gualtieri which has remained in everyone’s memories; the fastest ever goal in World Cup football.  Here it is again for your enjoyment/amusement/embarrassment:
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