Talking about San Marino’s national team inevitably leads to mentioning them being dead-last in the FIFA rankings. I’ve already talked about the difficult task of being a Sammarinese goalkeeper, their devastating statistics and, on a lighter note, about their biggest success, when they beat Liechtenstein in 2004 (and how I managed to get a jersey of said game!).
Always being the punching bag of European football did have an advantage, though – they have won a lot of sympathies from football fans around the globe!
As someone who has mainly been interested in the small football nations, San Marino has always been among my favorite teams. I mean, how can you not love this tiny enclave that still gives it their all, despite constantly being in a David vs. Goliath situation?
During a road trip though Italy in 2021, it was clear that a stopover in San Marino was obligatory!
Nestled in the mountains not far from the Adriatic Sea, San Marino is basically the dolled-up version of a small Italian mountain village. While its “capital” is pretty much a shopping promenade trying to sell you fridge magnets and automatic rifles during your ascent to the country’s landmarks: the Three Towers of San Marino, the rest of “The Most Serene Republic” truly is serene, calm and simply gorgeous!
I also visited San Marino’s national stadium and, coincidentally, there actually was a Conference League game between local team SS Folgore/Falciano and Maltese side Hibernians FC. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, only fans from San Marino and Italy were permitted, so I spent the first half of the game looking through a fence…
Of course, I couldn’t miss out the opportunity to visit the FSGC, San Marino’s football federation, to buy some “souvenirs”. Big thanks to Andrea from the federation, whom I had been in contact with for a while, who was extremely friendly and managed to organize a match issued shirt for me.
Obviously, I didn’t leave the federation without getting this beautiful away shirt too!
Aside from the weird one-off maroon kit used against Belarus, the team’s newest away shirt is the first San Marino shirt not being either sky-blue or white, but rather kept in a dark blue with light blue details. The most striking design element are the depictions of the countries three towers which are featured prominently all over the shirt. For some reason, however, this model was only used in a single game against Italy so far. During their other away games, the team wore a simple white Macron template with a sewn-on badge, suggesting that having a blue home and away jersey might not conform to FIFA’s guidelines. At any rate, now I have to get the white shirt, too….