San Marino’s goalscoring prowess against England

Very little can be said about the footballing talents of one of Europe’s smallest countries other than they are very poor. San Marino are currently the joint worst FIFA-sanctioned team on the continent yet will head into their clash with England on Friday (you can check out a match preview on the bet365 site) with a glimmer of hope based on history between the two nations.

For while San Marino’s record in international football is one of the worst around, they have done mildly well against England. Granted, in their previous two meetings the San Marinese haven’t even come close to beating the English – losing 6-0 and 7-1 – but, crucially, they have scored.

When Giampaolo Mazza and his players walk onto the Wembley turf on Friday they will have confidence in the fact one of their countrymen once netted against this great nation, albeit during England’s 7-1 drubbing back in November 1993. At the start of their second clash in World Cup ’94 qualifying, San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri pounced on a weak Lee Dixon back-pass to slot home the opener just 8.3 seconds into the game.

The San Marinese therefore have a rich history of striking early against the English – they’ve scored early on in 50% of their previous meetings.

Roy Hodgson’s men, including the arrogant as always Ashley Cole of hasty tweeting and Chelsea fame (the Premier League latest promotions with bet365 offer tempting odds for the Blues to win the league this season) face a slightly tougher task than their inflated egos may allow them to believe: San Marino’s current top goalscorer is 31-time capped striker Manuel Marani, with two internationals goals to his name. That’s one more than the predator that was Gualtieri netted in his entire six-year international career.

Marani is in a rich vein of form after netting in San Marino’s recent 3-2 friendly loss to Malta and with recent prospect Danilo Rinaldi – who has one goal in six appearances – on the pitch then San Marino at least have a chance of scoring at Wembley.

Of course, the realistic chances of this small nation getting anywhere in the coming years are very slight indeed, but the San Marinese will nevertheless have a brief memory of history on their side when they face England on Friday.

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