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Perennial whipping boys San Marino end run of 40 consecutive defeats

Goalkeeper Simone Benedettini was the hero in their goalless Nations League clash with Liechtenstein.

The San Marino team pictured before a European Championship qualifier against Scotland last year.
The San Marino team pictured before a European Championship qualifier against Scotland last year.
Image: Simon Cooper

SAN MARINO ARE the perennial whipping boys of international football but on Tuesday they were able to celebrate claiming their first point in six years thanks to a 0-0 draw in Liechtenstein in the Uefa Nations League.

Goalkeeper Simone Benedettini was the hero for San Marino as he kept their first clean sheet since a goalless draw at home to Estonia in a European Championship qualifier in November 2014, and their first ever clean sheet away from home.

They had suffered 40 straight defeats before travelling to Vaduz where they claimed their first ever point in the Nations League to move off the mark in League D, Group 2 after losing 1-0 in Gibraltar and 2-0 at home to Liechtenstein last month.

Nevertheless, they have still never won a competitive game since being accepted into international football in 1990, and have not won any match since beating Liechtenstein in a friendly in 2004.

The tiny, landlocked nation, completely surrounded by Italy, has a population of under 35,000, a few thousand less than Liechtenstein, the similarly tiny Alpine principality.

San Marino sit 210th and dead last in the Fifa world rankings, just behind Anguilla, with results in recent years including 9-0 hammerings by Belgium and Russia, 8-0 losses to Norway and Germany, and a 10-0 defeat by Croatia in a 2016 friendly. 

© – AFP, 2020

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