San Marino: the worst national team in the world

San Marino: the worst national team in the world

Por: Nicolás SasuMartes 12 Jul 2022

San Marino is a microstate, with an area of 61 km2 and a population of only 33,000 inhabitants. However, it is considered the oldest sovereign country in the world, since its foundation is estimated to have been in the year 301. Despite its vast history and being in the middle of Italy (a very football-loving country), the San Marino national team just started to play in 1986.

The Official Emblem of the San Marino National Team

Its first unofficial match was against the Canadian Olympic team, a match that ended 1-0 in favor of the Americans. Then, its first tournament was the 1987 Mediterranean games, where it lost 2 matches and got its first draw against Lebanon. Finally, UEFA and FIFA recognized the country in 1988, which would allow them to play international tournaments. Before recognition, players born in San Marino were Italian for football purposes.

In 1990, San Marino contested the qualifications for UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying. The team was in group 2 and lost all 8 games it played. In total, they received 33 goals but managed to convert to their first goal in their history. It happened on October 18, 1990 against Romania, the goal was converted by Valdes Pasolini from a penalty. 

San Marino's jersey during the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)

2 years later, they participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) and their performance was again pitiful. They played 10 games, conceded 46 goals and scored 2. At least they managed to draw 0-0 against Turkey. Although many weak teams such as Malta, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, and Andorra continue to obtain negative results and historic goals, it is clear that, very slowly, they are improving. However, San Marino is still without results, despite playing against weak teams. In fact, to this day, the San Marino team has only won one game in its history, 1-0 against Liechtenstein in a friendly played in 2004. To date, this team has played 188 games (official and friendly), in which they won 1 game, drew 6 and lost 181. They received 789 goals and only scored 26 goals.

The top scorer in the history of San Marino is Andy Selva, who has 8 goals and is the only player with more than two goals in the entire history of the European team. In addition, his goal in 2004 was the one that served to achieve the historic victory against Liechtenstein in the friendly match. He is one of the few San Marino players who make a living from football.

Andy Selva is San Marino's all-time top scorer with 8 goals

The main problem of this team is the lack of professional players. Almost all of its players also have other work obligations, obviously not being able to make a living from professional football. Based on this, almost all of its players have other jobs such as lawyers, doctors, clerks, and merchants. The data for the year 2020 is astonishing. After 6 years of consecutive defeats, San Marino managed to score a point in the draw against Liechtenstein for the third match day of the Nations League, thus cutting the longest streak of point drought in history for a football team.

The San Marino team that tied and scored their first point in 6 years!

Despite these statistics, San Marino remains hopeful for the UEFA Nations League. Thanks to this tournament, they compete in group D and at least they make sure to compete against weak teams and avoid painful thrashing against strong teams. Currently, this team is ranked 211th in the FIFA ranking, the last place.

Continue reading: Why is the Dutch "Clockwork Orange" such a remembered team?

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