San Marino Prove Nations League Worth

San Marino Prove Nations League Worth
With a number of players coming back from representing their country and subsequently collecting a dose of COVID-19 for their efforts, it comes as no surprise that international football has come in for something of a bashing as of late. As the club landscape becomes ever more dominant and the clamour for competitions such as the Premier League and LaLiga to run unimpeded grows further, the international theatre of football has been described as a nuisance as of late.

Many have felt that the staging of UEFA Nations League fixtures, have been somewhat unnecessary in this current climate and although such meetings have been sold as more than international friendlies, for a growing majority they are not ready to accept such a label.

Especially when such scheduling also runs the risk of ruling out players from their club activities and with a mindset of your beloved team first and your nation second, it is understandable where such ire can come from.

Then again, the show must always go on for international football where it can and although it is being viewed as an ever growing inconvenience, this is not a sentiment that is shared with the San Marino national team camp.

When UEFA dreamt up the brainchild of the Nations League, it was to not only add more purpose to dates that were previously earmarked for lacklustre friendlies, but also to add an element of competitive balance for all of their 55 members.

By adding a set of four divisions, it meant that pairings would be less of a chasm that you sometimes see in either European Championships or World Cup qualifiers, as the often maligned San Marino are hammered by the likes of England on an all too regular basis.

Instead the minnows of the UEFA scene, would at least go up against less testing opposition and even though the Sammarinese players once again finished bottom of their mini league, there was still plenty of reason to celebrate.

That’s because, in their remaining two Nations League fixtures of this current cycle, they managed to frustrate both Liechtenstein and Gibraltar and in doing so, earned a point in each of the respective clashes.

Now two mind numbing 0-0 draws does not sound all that appealing to you or I, but to those in San Marino colours it means absolutely everything and when the usual dish of day is defeat, a share of the points is all the more appetising.

While it is results such as these, which will allow UEFA to give themselves a rather large pat on the back. Because now, they can point to such a success story, as merit for not only introducing the competition at first, but also pressing ahead with the most recent international dates.

Not only that, but avoiding defeat not once but twice, will give the San Marino team an almighty boost in terms of confidence and although it would be remiss to suggest that Qatar 2022 is on the horizon, perhaps fortunes are starting to change for the better.

Admittedly, for their fortunes to really change for the better, a dose of firepower will need to be found before the start of the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers and with such a small pool of names to choose from, that task is easier said than done.

While whichever four or five nations San Marino are paired with in their qualification group, the likelihood is that they will once again finish bottom by some distance. Then again, that’s a concern for the future times, as their recent celebrations will continue for quite a while yet and rightly so.

 

Written by Dan Tracey

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