- Capital: San Marino
- Official Languages: Italian
- Nicknames: La Serenissima
- Association: Federazione Sammarinese Giuoco Calcio (FSGC)
- FIFA Code: SMR
- Best World Cup Result (Men): Not Qualified
- Best World Cup Result (Women): n/a
- Best Euros Result (Men): Not Qualified
- Best Euros Result (Women): n/a
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Men): 118th (September 1993)
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Women): n/a
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Men): 211st (November 2018 – July 2019)
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Women): n/a
- Most Capped Player: Andy Selva – 74 caps
- Top Scorer: Andy Selva – 8 goals
The Republic of San Marino, which is also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, is a microstate in southern Europe that is completely enclosed by Italy, and near the Italian city of Rimini. Despite its small area, San Marino lays claim to being the oldest soverign state and constitutional republic having being founded in 301CE by Saint Marinus. Even though they have a long history of being an independent state, they only joined FIFA and UEFA as late as 1988, with players from the nation having to play for Italy previously. Sadly since their acceptance into UEFA & FIFA, the results of San Marino have not been great with the team having won only once in their entire international history (a 1-0 win in a friendly against Liechtenstein in April 2004), and scoring just 24 goals in their existence, although one of their most famous goal being the 8.3 second goal Davide Gualtieri scored against England in 1993. As a result of their lack of victories, they are considered as the worst international side in international football, and are currently ranked bottom of the FIFA World Rankings list.
Nonetheless, the side looks to be slowly improving. In their most recent UEFA Nations League outing, situated in the bottom tier of League D, they managed to earn themselves two draws from their four group games, and only conceded three goals. The allusive second win may be just that little step closer…
Talking about one of the smallest nations (in terms of area) in international football, and the lowest ranked team in both European and world football is the San Marino Fan Account. As their name suggest, they are a fan Twitter account of the San Marino international team, as well as focusing on Sammarinese players who play in the various leagues. To find their social media accounts, follow the links below:
- Twitter: @SanMarino_FA
Q. Who would you say is your country’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
San Marino’s best player of all time must be Massimo Bonini, even though he only played 19 caps for us. That’s because our federation was founded in 1990, so he only played five years for our nation. He played for Juventus alongside Michel Platini, Ian Rush, Michael Laudrup, Marco Tardelli and many other big players. He is also the only player from San Marino that won a European Cup. In 2004 he also won the FIFA Jubilee Award for the best Sammarinese player of all time!
The best manager we ever had, must be Giampaolo Mazza, and the reason behind it is very simple: the only game we ever won was in 2004, against Liechtenstein, Mazza was our manager at that time. He wrote history, with the only win we ever had in our beautiful football history. Besides that, he was our manager for 15 years with 85 games on the bench, which makes him the longest serving manager in Europe. Imagine being the manager of the worst country of the world for 15 years, yikes!
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the national team both in the past and present?
Well, this is more of a personal cult hero, and I made him a cult hero with my previous and blocked San Marino account (@soccersanmarino). Mattia Stefanelli scored the first away goal since 2001 against Norway, freaking Norway. Because of that goal, my Twitter account blew up. Mattia was in one fell swoop a living legend and some sort of a meme. If he is reading this, I want to thank him for what he has done for me and our beautiful country, he will be a legend forever. I’m willing to call my first born ‘Mattia Stefan’.
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player from San Marino currently?
Our Sammarinese Messi, Filippo Berardi. He’s a quick lad with a lot of flair, he’s a pleasure to watch. After his goal against Kazakhstan, he stands out every game. I think he can become one of the biggest legends in Sammarinese football, like Andy Selva was.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the national team?
Before the UEFA Nations League I was downcast about the level of our football. We played way too defensively and never tried to attack. But Franco Varrella (our current manager) finally decided to play a more attacking tactic against Liechtenstein away and Gibraltar at home. We actually could have won against Liechtenstein because of our great football. Drawing two official matches in a row is very special for our nation, so I would say our performance is getting better and is increasing. I hope one day we can follow in the footsteps of nations like Andorra or Faroe Islands, but we have a long way to go.
Q. Are there any Sammarinese players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the country?
I love big fellas that are passionate on the pitch and think football is war. I’m talking about our striker Nicola Nanni. He is still very young (20 years old) and already has 13 caps for our national team. He currently plays for Serie C side Cesena, on a loan spell. I really hope he will score one day for San Marino and becomes a starter for his club Crotone.
Q. Looking at San Marino’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
I can’t choose between two matches: the friendly against Liechtenstein in 2004, where Andy Selva scored an amazing free kick in the 5th minute, what won us the one and only match in our history. Or the match against Turkey in 1993 where we kept Turkey from scoring. That match ended, with some good luck, in a 0-0.
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
This might not be a surprising answer, but it was a sad day in San Marino when we lost against Germany 0-13 in our Stadio Olimpico. It’s the biggest loss in our history. It was a humiliating night. I don’t want to dwell on it for too long, because I’m getting emotional thinking about it.
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the San Marino national team?
Are there any good things about being a fan of the worst country in international football? You’ll think there isn’t, but I can tell you why it’s beautiful to be a San Marino fan. First of all you never have big expectations. It sucks when we lose, but you get used to it. As a San Marino fan you take joy from the little things, like scoring against another country, or drawing. Being a San Marino fan is like how life should be lived, lower your expectations and be happy with the little things in life, and then the big things will come eventually. We’re still waiting for the big things to come, though.
Second of all, it’s like I’m watching my Sunday league team playing against the most famous players of the world. You can relate yourself with those Sammarinese guys. Every Sunday league team has a Davide Simoncini that scores an own goal way too often, and every Sunday League team has a Filippo Berardi that’s actually a little bit too good to play for the team. It’s football in his purest form, and that’s what I dearly love.
The worst thing: you lose every game, haha!
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
I can’t really answer that question because in my view there isn’t another song that I know of that’s like a fan anthem, so no the team don’t have an unofficial anthem.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?
I’m a really sucker for old 90’s shirts, so I’ll go with the jersey we wore in 1997. The shirt is light blue (of course), and has the Sammarinese shield on its belly, in a darker blue. It’s actually on sale on Classic Football Shirts, so take your chance.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the San Marino national team?
Like I’ve already said in a previous answer: I hope we can follow the footsteps of nations like Andorra or Faroe Islands. The latter has made great strides with only 50,000 inhabitants in their country. I hope we can do the same in the future.
We have two incredibly talented attackers, Nicola Nanni and Filippo Berardi, we have a great goalie in Elia Benedettini, and we got some upcoming defending talents, Michele Cevoli (captain of U21s) and Filippo Fabbri. If we combine our old hands with some young guns, we might get better results in the future. But I don’t have a glass sphere, so we’ll wait for what comes our way. One thing is for certain, we’re going to win a match in the upcoming three years, and when that day comes, the football world will celebrate and San Marino will write history. I think our future will be bright, forza San Marino!
A massive thank you to the San Marino Fan Account for answering our questions on La Serenissima. Remember you can find their social media accounts in the links at the top of the blogpage.
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