Football in San Marino

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Football in San Marino
CountrySan Marino
Governing bodySan Marino Football Federation
National team(s)San Marino
Club competitions
International competitions

Football is the most popular sport in San Marino, as well as in Italy, the country within which it is an enclave.[1]

Domestic football[edit]

The San Marino Championship, founded under the auspices of the FSGC (San Marino Football Federation), is the premier footballing competition in San Marino; the fifteen teams that take part in the competition are split into two groups of eight and seven teams. The top three from each section at the end of the regular season progress into a semi-knockout style Championship Playoff. Prior to 2007, the playoff champion earned a spot in the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Cup. In 2007, UEFA granted San Marino a spot in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Champions League. 2007 league champions S.S. Murata was the first team to represent San Marino in the Champions League when they participated in the 2007–08 competition, losing to Finland's Tampere United. San Marino also has a representative in the Italian system, with San Marino Calcio playing in the 3rd tier of Italian football, Lega Pro Prima Divisione. San Marino play their home matches at the Stadio Olimpico of Serravalle.

There are two major cup competitions in the country; the first is the Coppa Titano, founded in 1937, in which all the teams in the league compete. The second is the Super Coppa Sammarinese which is contested between the winner of the cup and the winner of the league.

League system 2018/2019[edit]

Level Leagues/Divisions
1 Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio
Group A - 8 clubs
Group B - 7 clubs

International football[edit]

The San Marino national team played its first unofficial international match in 1986, suffering a 0-1 defeat to the Canadian Olympic team, its first competitive outing was on November 14, 1990, a 0-4 loss against Switzerland in the European Championship qualifier. These defeats set the tone for most of the following outings of the team, who are regarded as whipping boys in the qualifying sections of the European Championship and the World Cup.

They had a brief moment of glory when they faced England in a World Cup qualifier on November 17, 1993 and took the lead through Davide Gualtieri after just 8.3 seconds - still the fastest goal in World Cup qualifier competition.[2] Despite this goal, only San Marino's third at international level, they went on to lose 7-1.

Until recently, San Marino's international record was one of almost total failure, with famous draws against Turkey and Latvia being the only partial successes in an international career that contains over 70 defeats. However, on 29 April 2004, San Marino recorded their first ever win, with a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein in an international friendly. Andy Selva scored the only goal in a close game that marked the first footballing victory for the republic.[3]

On September 6, 2006, San Marino suffered their biggest ever defeat, losing 13-0 to Germany at the Stadio Olimpico, it was also the largest goal margin defeat in European Championship qualifying history. In the same competition, on February 7, 2007, they came close to drawing 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland, but Stephen Ireland scored in the 94th minute, within 8 seconds of the final whistle; the goal scored by San Marino was their first in a European Championship qualifier since losing 4-1 to Austria in 1998.

They are currently placed joint bottom in the FIFA World Rankings at 208th, they hold this title with the Bhutan national football team.[4] All San Marino players are amateur players. On September 10, 2013, Alessandro Della Valle scored their first goal in competitive matches in 5 years with a header in a 5-1 loss to Poland.

The most notable Sammarinese footballers were Massimo Bonini, a midfielder who played for the national team, but most notably for Italy's Juventus F.C. from 1981 to 1988,[5] and Andy Selva, the all-time top scorer of the national team with 8 goals.


  1. ^ "One Win, 106 Losses, No Traffic Lights". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  2. ^ England. "England v San Marino: Davide Gualtieri never tires of reliving the World Cup night in 1993". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ "San Marino vs. Liechtenstein - Football Match Report - April 28, 2004 - ESPN". Retrieved 2019-06-24.
  4. ^ "FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". 14 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Bonini, San Marino's unsung hero". Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 14 January 2015.