It was a historic night for the San Marino national team on Tuesday as they recorded a 0-0 draw against fellow minnows Liechtenstein at the Rheinpark Stadion in Vaduz.
Franco Varrella's side managed to keep a clean sheet in an away fixture for the first time in their 30-year existence, and in the meantime, they picked up a point for the first time in six long and painful years.
In fact, the lowest ranked team in international football ended a 40-game losing streak with the goalless draw against Liechtenstein - who are ranked 180th in the world - as goalkeeper Elia Benedettini made history between the sticks.
It was the first time San Marino have avoided defeat in a competitive fixture since a goalless draw against Estonia in 2014 and boy, did social media react to the shock result.
After 30 years, San Marino finally kept their first ever away clean sheet last night in a 0-0 draw with Liechtenstein.- Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) October 14, 2020
It was the first time in 6 years that they have avoided defeat.
:clipboard: San Marino's record:
• Won = 1
• Drawn = 4
• Lost = 162
Progress is being made!
Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any more mental, you find out San Marino kept a clean sheet last night :joy: pic.twitter.com/8BK4xxIBtt- FPL_Steve (@fpl_steve) October 14, 2020
They had lost their last 40 games.- bet365 (@bet365) October 13, 2020
They had never kept a clean sheet away from home in their 30-year history.
San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini has made national history in their 0-0 draw with Liechtenstein. pic.twitter.com/zk6KCTWecG
To put their incredibly awful run of results into perspective, the European side are yet to record a competitive win, with their only victory as a nation coming in a friendly game against, you guessed it, Liechtenstein.
After more than 70 attempts, San Marino notched a 1-0 win against the international minnows courtesy of a fifth-minute winner by Andy Selva as Martin Andermatt 'celebrated' a far-from-memorable debut as Liechtenstein boss.
For only the 2nd time in their last 102 matches dating back to 2004, San Marino manage to avoid defeat. They've been outscored 443-12 in that time, yet draw Liechtenstein 0-0 today.- Arm & Hammer Locks (@ArmnHammerLocks) October 13, 2020
This is the 6th game in their history since 1990 they haven't lost..
I have absolutely no words.
To their credit, San Marino have kept on fighting down the years and when Germany's Thomas Muller questioned the 'team of amateurs', they responded perfectly.
"I understand that for them it is special to play against the world champions, I understand also that they can only defend with tough tackling." Muller said in 2016.
"For this reason, though, I wonder if these are not games which bring unnecessary risks."
San Marino sent a letter to Thomas Muller after he made brutal comments about them. A great response! :clap:https://t.co/siqiLTgAB7- SPORTbible (@sportbible) November 14, 2016
San Marino, who at the time had not taken a point at home in the competition since 1993, may have conceded eight against the Germans but this response from director of communications Alan Gasperoni was outstanding.
Here is the response in full:
Dearest Thomas Muller,
You're right. The games like that on a Friday night, they're nothing. To you. On the other hand, dear Thomas, you do not need to come to San Marino for almost nothing in a weekend in which, without the Bundesliga, you could have spent with your wife on the sofa of you luxury villa or, who knows, you could have taken part in some events organised by your sponsors to bank several thousand euros. I believe you, but allow me to give 10 good reasons for which I think the San Marino-Germany match was very useful and if only you could could think about it and let me know what you think. It served to show you that not even against the teams as poor as ours you can't score a goal - and don't say you weren't pissed when Simoncini stopped you scoring...
- It served to make it clear to your managers (and even at Beckenbauer and Rummenigge) that football is not owned by them but by of all those who love it, among which, like it or not, WE are included.
- It served to remind hundreds of journalists from all over Europe that there are still guys who follow their dreams and not your rules.
- It served to confirm that you Germans you will never change and that history has taught you that "bullying" is not always guarantee of victory.
- It served to show the 200 guys in San Marino who play the game for whatever reason why their coaches ask them to always work their hardest. Who knows - maybe one day all their sacrifice will not be repaid with a game against the champions of the world.
- It served to your Federation (and also to ours) to collect the money of image rights with which, in addition to paying you for your trouble, they can build pitches for the kids of your own country, schools, and make football stadiums safer... Our Federation, I'll let you in on a secret, is building a new football pitch in a remote village called Acquaviva. You could build it with six months of your salary, we'll do it with the rights of 90 minutes of game. Not bad right?
- It served to a country as big as your pitch in Munich to go in the paper for a good reason, because a football match is always a good reason.
- It served to your friend Gnabry to begin with, in the national team and scoring three goals.
- It made some Sanmarinese people a little happy to remember that we have a real national team.
- It's served to make me realise that even if you wear the most beautiful adidas kits, underneath you're always the ones that put white socks under their sandals.
With Love, your Alan.
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