SAN MARINO

Away 2002/04

Matchworn by Nicola Albani 28.04.2004 SNR ­č窭čç▓ : LIE ­čç▒­čç« 1-0 (first and only victory)


Manufacturer: Virma

Source: Former Liechtenstein player

April 28th, 2004 ÔÇô the day San MarinoÔÇÖs national team lost its virginity.

ItÔÇÖs 10:18 pm, when Maltese referee Lawrence Sammut blew the final whistle of the friendly match between UEFA minnows San Marino and Liechtenstein. A moment that sealed a historic moment for San MarinoÔÇÖs national team.


Only around 700 people found their way into the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle on this mild spring day, yet, none of them expected to witness a moment in football history.

For a match between two of the lowest ranked team in European football, the San Marino Football Federation invited quite a prominent guest of honor: then UEFA president Michel Platini, who personally greeted each of the 22 players, all wearing a white T-shirt commemorating the 50th birthday of the Union of European Football Associations ÔÇô UEFA.

In a fiercely contested game, the match-winning scene already happened in the fifth minute:

After a foul near the penalty line and the subsequent indirect free kick, San MarinoÔÇÖs captain Andy Selva sank the ball untenably into the net.

Despite promising chances on both sides, the Sammarinese team managed to run down the clock and therefore accomplish their first ever victory. With 178 games played, as of April 2021, this win still stands as the biggest ever success in San MarinoÔÇÖs 31 year football history.

ItÔÇÖs easy to laugh at the teamÔÇÖs 160 losses and seven draws and the fact that the team has been on the bottom of the FIFA ranking for years. Yet, the Sammarinese players enter the pitch game in game out, proud to represent their country and remain ready to put up a fight, despite their small chances against EuropeÔÇÖs footballing elite. We should acknowledge and admire a team that consistently shows this level of professionalism and commitment, rather than to belittle a team that might be EuropeÔÇÖs worst, but that could easily outplay a dozen of national teams around the world.


THE SHIRT

This is a piece of football history! Worn by defender Nicola Albani, when he and his teammates beat Lichtenstein 1-0 during a 2004 friendly, securing San MarinoÔÇÖs first ÔÇô and to this day only ÔÇô victory, this is certainly a shirt IÔÇÖm very proud to induct into my hall of shirts.

Made by arguably one of the best (but short-lived) manufacturers of all time, Italian manufacturer Virma, it features the countryÔÇÖs coat of arms and still pours on the charm of a 90s shirt.

It even has some small ÔÇťbattle scarsÔÇŁ in the form of some dirt spots on the right sleeve (handball?).

I was lucky to acquire this shirt (and a bunch of others) from a former Liechtensteiner international who also played the match and even had a chance to score an equalizer in the second half. However, for the sake of San MarinoÔÇÖs football history and the uniqueness of this shirt, I am glad that he took this shirt home as a loser and, despite forever being part of ÔÇťthe team that lost to San MarinoÔÇŁ, keeping it in his collection.

San Marino, 117 minutes before their first ever victory.


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