San Marino holds a special distinction as having the worst football team in the world – ranked dead last internationally, behind even territories like Guam and the US Virgin Islands, which are not particularly soccer-mad places. San Marino has never even won a competitive international football match. Ever.
The Tim Traveller (who also did a good video on San Marino’s railway) went to a match a few years ago against Moldova, with predictable results and a lot of British snark.
Just last month, he went back to San Marino for another game, this time against Andorra. Once again, no dice for San Marino.
So why is San Marino’s team so bad? Partially it may be because of the country’s small size and population, but that can’t be the whole story – Liechtenstein has around the same population, and they have at least won some games (including over San Marino). The fact that San Marino’s team is almost all amateur may also contribute to it – most of the players have day jobs and only practice once a week.
San Marino did win once, when they turned around and beat Liechtenstein in 2004, but it was a friendly match. There have been calls to move San Marino and other low-ranked teams into their own pre-qualifying pool to gain experience and send only the winners to qualifiers. However, despite the team’s record, the team and their fans have a lot of pride in competing internationally and in keeping their chins up.
If they ever do win a match, I’m sure the celebrations will be intense. There’s still lots of reminiscing over the time San Marino scored against England a few seconds into a match in 1993. San Marino did eventually lose the match 7-1, but scoring on one of the best teams in the world is definitely a big deal.