As England get set to face off with San Marino, Europe’s perennial whipping boys I have been trying ever so hard to give our opponents a remnant of hope or at least some due respect.
Their best results involve draws with Turkey, Lebanon and Latvia not to mention their one and only win on record against Liechtenstein in 2004. Previous draws involve one with Liechtenstein again and an unofficial 0-0 result with the Vatican City six years ago.
It is true that most of their significant results come under the gauge of various nations record victories. Germany spanked them 13-0 in 2006; their record defeat and they have suffered a string of just as embarrassing results including:
Norway 10-0 (1992)
Spain 9-0 (1999)
Israel 8-0 (1999)
Belgium 10-1 (2001)
Poland 10-0 (2009)
Hungary 8-0 (2010)
Finland 8-0 (2010)
Netherlands 11-0 (2011)
But are we being to harsh on them, sure they have a quite awful record but every team has a record defeat.
The top 10 in the world at the moment according to FIFA (which includes Greece, Colombia and us by the way) have a record like this:
England/Italy 7-1 Spain (1928/1931)
England 9-0 Germany (1909)
Portugal 0-10 England (1947)
Bolivia 6-1 Argentina (2009)
Hungary 7-1 England (1954)
England 12-2 Netherlands (1907)
Uruguay 0-6 Argentina (1902)
Hungary 7-1 Italy (1924)
Brazil 9-0 Colombia (1957)
Hungary 11-1 Greece (1938)
While noticing first of all that England and Hungary used to love handing out the pastings their sure is a fair share of comprehensive defeats on that list, but if you go down a couple of places to Russia and France you see a result that not even San Marino have suffered.
Russia were dismantled by Germany in a 16-0 crushing in 1912 but Frances record defeat occurred in 1908, at the Olympic Games in London when they were trounced 17-1. Not by Great Britain, Hungary or Germany but by…Denmark.
Sophus Nielsen scored 10 goals in the game, an international record until Australia’s Archie Thompson bagged 13 against American Samoa in the drubbing to end all drubbings; 31-0 in 2001.
So San Marino can take solace from the fact that France, World Cup winners of 1998 and a side currently occupied with talents such as Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra and Hugo Lloris were beaten by a scoreline they have never suffered… albeit 104 years ago.
image: © korobukkuru