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[FM19] Check me back into the Asylum - San Giovanni take 872


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(With thanks to @Deisler26 for the title)

We're back!

San Marino are, quite literally, the worst team in world football. Sitting at 211st out of 211 national teams, they're below such giants as Eritrea (who's entire National Team seems to flee and seek asylum every time they play an away game), The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat... you get the point.

With a population of 33,000, San Marino have as many competitive wins as they do traffic lights in the country - zero. One of the smallest countries in the world, they have a National holiday every time the team scores a goal. They don't get those holidays very often.

The players in the national team are essentially the same as you and me. Outside of one or two professionals, they all work real, 9-5 jobs. Here's the list of occupations from a Euro 2016 qualification match:

san marino starting eleven day jobs

They head into every game knowing that not only is a win unlikely, but to keep the score down to less than 5 would be a good day at the office. They're underdogs in every sense of the word. With club football being increasingly dictated by the size of the owners wallet, many fans are instead looking towards international football. There's no money in international football, no buying better players or skirting around financial fair play rules. It's a question of sport, rather than finances. There's always a chance of an underdog causing an upset, and San Marino might be the biggest underdogs there are in the sporting world.

These are ordinary people, going out to compete for their country against some of the best players in the world. My favourite story about the National Team is this:

In their final pre-match warmup before taking on England, Nicola Chiaruzzi's boots fell apart. Chiaruzzi went off to Wembley in search of a new pair of boots, and had a shop assistant begin to explain to him how best to break in the boots. Chiaruzzi calmly explained that, actually, he wouldn't have the time to do that. He was looking for boots that he could wear in two hours time at Wembley.


Despite being continually ridiculed by the press in every game they play, they continue to compete, hoping that one day, that upset might come.

Let's see if we can get that upset.


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Some more anecdotes from the National Team, courtesy of http://sanmarinodocumentary.com/anecdotes-indes#goals:

- When San Marino earned their first ever point against Estonia, the players celebrated by.... drinking strawberry vodka and smoking cigarettes all night long, a thought that would certainly upset the fitness staff for a bigger team!

- San Marino were 'sponsored' by Adidas - I say sponsored, because Adidas would only give them blank shirts, on which they'd have to sew the Sammarinese badge on themselves.

- When Manuel Battistini swapped shirts with Wayne Rooney, he tried it on 'to see where Rooney's muscles were'.

- Against Lithuania, San Marino won a free kick. Nicola Chiaruzzi told Matteo Vitaioli to try the 'dead leaf' free kick technique. Vitaioli didn't know how, so he just smashed it as hard as he could. That was San Marino's first away goal in 14 years.

- Nicola Chiaruzzi missed San Marino's game against Slovenia because he couldn't find anybody to cover his shift at a bar. Similarly, goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini once missed a game against Ukraine to stay home and study Algebra for an exam. San Marino lost 9-0, but Simoncini passed his exam.


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List of Targets:

Something that I'm adding onto this year is a list of mini-targets to achieve. I'll be adding to these when I think of more, but these are the ones for now:




Club Targets:

  • They have legs! - Score a goal.   Achieved 30/9/2018 - Virtus 4-0 San Giovanni, Campionato Sammarinese
  • They have arms! - Keep a clean sheet.  Achieved 30/9/2018 - Virtus 4-0 San Giovanni, Campionato Sammarinese
  • The prize is a tin pot - Win the cup.  
  • Champions of... uhh..  Win the league.  
  • Here to play - Win a European game.   
  • Dominant! - Go unbeaten in a league season.  
  • Here to stay - Make the Europa League groups.   
  • If only it was in a real league - Have a player average over an 8.00 on the season.   
  • Name recognition - Make the top 100 leagues reputation wise. 
  • Household names - Be a top 200 ranked club.  
  • Eye on the prize - Have a player score 50 in a season.
  • Even more dominant - Win every league game in a season.
  • We're for real - Make the Champions League groups.
  • Bring it on - Make the knockouts of a European tournament.
  • Yeah, not happening - Win the Europa League.
  • HAHAHAHA - Win the Champions League.
  • He's from where? - Develop a world class player through our academy.
  • But that's not a real league... - Have a player win the European golden boot.
  • More name recognition - Make the top 50 leagues reputation wise.
  • Still going... - Make the top 25 leagues reputation wise.
  • Top ten! - Make the top 10 leagues reputation wise.
  • Five... - Make the top 5 leagues reputation wise.
  • We made it. - Be the number one ranked league in the world.
  • Scaring the big boys - Be a top 100 ranked club.
  • Getting there... - Be a top 50 ranked club.
  • Scared yet? - Be a top 25 ranked club.
  • Stealing from Arsenal - Be a top 4 ranked club.
  • Number one - Be the top ranked club in the world.


National Team Targets:

  • That wasn't meant to happen - score a goal.     Achieved 12/10/2018 - San Marino 1-3 Moldova, UEFA Nations League D Group 2
  • Historic - Win a competitive game.     Achieved 15/10/2018 - Luxembourg 1-2 San Marino, UEFA Nations League D Group 2
  • The great Titani(c) wall - Keep a clean sheet.      Achieved 12/6/2020 - Liechtenstein 0-1 San Marino, Friendly
  • Mr Reliable - Have a player become the record capholder for San Marino.    
  • The next Andy Selva - Have a player become the new record goalscorer for San Marino.    
  • The next Andy Selva 2.0 - Have a player score a hatrick in a game.   
  • Revenge - Break Thomas Muller's legs (okay, probably not actually this one).
  • Riot at Wembley - Score a goal against England.
  • Who's laughing now? - Beat England.
  • We're here too - Score a goal against Italy.
  • Neighbours from hell - Beat Italy.
  • I hate you - Get Married (Kidding. Become an enemy of the current England manager).
  • Progress - Finish not last in a qualifying campaign.
  • We're going to... Uzbekistan? - Qualify for the finals of a major tournament.
  • Keep on going - Reach the knockouts of a major tournament.
  • This is for you, Wales - Reach the Semi-Finals of a major tournament.
  • This is for you, Andy - Have a player top score at a major tournament.
  • Champions of Europe - Win the Euros.
  • WORLD CHAMPIONS - Win the World Cup.


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We've chosen to load a lot of leagues this time round to try and add some variety to the teams in Europe, although we'll probably have to get rid of most of these once the game begins to hang. We've also ticked the box to add all players from continental competitions in Europe so we don't play against greyed out players often, and there's the Swedish, Welsh and Turkish Leagues set to view-only, too.

Attribute masking is turned off because we're not going to be signing any players anyway, and so it'll make it easier to give updates about the state of world football and show who some of the best players in the world are. The in game editor is enabled, because I like to change the kits up every so often to keep things fresh, and to poke under the hood of the other Sammarinese teams to see how they're doing in terms of developing their infrastructure.

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Season Review





The Sammarinese league structure has changed quite a bit since last year. The top four teams in each 'first phase' group go onto 'Group 1' in the second phase, where the top 6 teams are joined by the top 2 from 'Group 2' (which is made up of all those teams who didn't qualify for Group 1) in the quarterfinals of the Playoffs, which determine the eventual winner of the league. Insanely weird, but I quite like it. Anyway, we did well in the first phase and were able to qualify for Group 1, but injuries to a tiny squad meant we just didn't have the staying power to make it through to the playoffs.



The cup has changed, too, with it being a knockout competition straight away rather than having any groupstages. We did so well to make it to the final, but a penalty shootout denied us silverware and the chance to play in Europe in our first season.




Other Teams: La Fiorita lost 3-0 to Drita from Kosovo in the Second Preliminary Qualifying Round for the Champions League. Folgore lost 5-1 to KI Klaksvic from the Faroe Islands and Tre Fiori lost 8-0 to B36 from the Faroe Islands in the Europa League Preliminary Round.

Next year: See if we can build on this year and make an early push for Europe.

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Season Review





The majority of our senior players retired before the season, leaving us with a squad both too thin and with a serious dearth of talent that stopped us launching a successful attack on the league. I think we'll need to build up the squad depth a bit before we can really compete at the top.



Not much luck in the cup, either.



These 13 players are all that was left of our first team squad :lol: 

Other Teams: Cailungo lost 2-0 to Lincoln Red Imps in the CL First Preliminary Qualifying Round. Cosmos lost 10-0 to IFK Goteborg from Sweden and Folgore lost 6-0 to Spartak Trnava from Slovakia in the Europa League First Qualifying Round.

Next year: Just try not to lose too many players so that we can build some semblance of a squad back up.

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Season Review






We missed out on Group 1 by a point, but won Group 2 and went to the Playoffs for the first time, where we were pretty convincingly defeated in the Quarter Final. Not bad, though!



This is a competition we should be looking to win as a route into Europe next season.




Other Teams: Folgore lost on penalties to Bala Town from Wales in the Champions League First Preliminary Round. Cosmos lost 6-0 to Apollon Limassol from Cyprus and Domagnano lost 6-1 to Alashkert from Armenia in the Europa League First Qualifying Round.

Next year: With our last intake, we should be a lot stronger. I'd like to compete for a spot in Europe, be that through the league or cup.

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Season Review




We qualified for Group 1, but disappointingly came bottom and didn't make it to the playoffs.



Poor, really.



It's quite a young squad...

Other Teams: Tre Fiori lost 1-0 to Dinamo Tiblisi from Georgia in the Champions League First Preliminary Round. Murata lost 6-0 to CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria and Domagnano lost 5-0 to KF Kukesi from Albania in the Europa League First Qualifying Round.

Next year: It's about time we got into Europe, eh?

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