Matchprepared for Davide Simoncini 08.09.2018 BLR 🇧🇾 : SMR 🇸🇲 5-0
The numbers are tough: In the 174 matches that the San Marino national has played since their first official FIFA game in 1990, they have only ever won a single match (in a friendly against Liechtenstein) and managed to hold a draw in six matches.
In total, they scored 24 goals and conceded a whopping 730 goals, resulting in an average 4.2 goals per game – for their opponents!
Given that “La Serenissima” (The Serene), the team’s nickname, have spent most of their footballing life on the bottom of the FIFA table, behind household names like Bhutan, Anguilla or Turks & Caicos, they are often ridiculed for being the worst national side in the world. However, this is not taking into account that San Marino has to compete almost exclusively against teams from the UEFA, which is arguably the strongest confederation within the FIFA. The San Marino Football Federation operates regarding to European standards and the team also has a few professional players in their ranks, which begs the question, how San Marino would fare against weaker teams of other confederations.
Despite getting beaten up by bigger nations quite regularly (their biggest defeat was a 13-0 against Germany in 2006), the team is not letting themselves get worked up (hence their nickname) and continue to bravely fight forlorn battles against much stronger opponents.
While many football fans aren’t particularly fond of the UEFA Nations League, the tournament mode of putting teams with similar FIFA ranking together in a group, gives weaker teams a chance to compete with equipollent teams and therefore serves as a great means of gaining points to ascend in the FIFA rankings. Thus, in November 2020, San Marino managed to achieve their biggest success to date: two consecutive draws (without conceding a single goal!).
“WTF?” might have been a common expression among San Marino supporters, when the team entered the Dinamo Arena in Minsk wearing this weird maroon and blue colored kit. Historically wearing blue or white, the Sammarinese have never played in any other colors and given that Belarus are also either playing in white or red, there was certainly not a kit clash that forced San Marino to wear these jerseys. So, the reason why the federation suddenly decided to supply their players with these monstrosities remains a mystery.
Many British teams, most prominently Aston Villa and West Ham United, have worn fantastic shirts featuring this color combination, however, something about San Marino’s design just doesn’t really work…
The fact that this shirt has only been donned in a single match makes it an obscure rarity and I am delighted that I was able to get the last remaining shirts from the Sammarinese federation. The one I’ll be keeping in my collection was prepared for the team’s captain Davide Simoncini, who might be on his way to outstrip Andy Selva as San Marino’s most-capped player.
Despite being plain ugly, this jersey is certainly one of the strangest and most interesting one’s in my collection so far.