|Euro 2020 qualifying: San Marino v Scotland|
|Venue: San Marino Stadium, San Marino Date: Sunday, 2-4 March Kickoff: 17:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Concentrate on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website; Highlights on BBC One Scotland|
“Kazakhstan 3-0 Scotland: All in shock”
The headline in one of Kazakhstan’s biggest news websites said it all in regards to the almighty capitulation from the mid-Asian outpost which abandoned Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 on life support.
“The Scots were perplexed, and” the match accounts went .
Confusion reigned on the pitch, shock reigned off it, but this will be compared to the untreatable response if Alex McLeish’s side fail to acquire their next one.
San Marino, the mountainous micro state near to Italy’s Adriatic coast, is a world far from the subzero Nursultan where hopes of finally end Scotland’s major tournament hiatus were put firmly in cold climates.
There are no simple matches, but…
The Sammarinese support the ignominious job of propping up Fifa’s world rankings in 211st place and started their campaign from traditional manner, a 5-0 thrashing, this time around in Cyprus.
“There are no easy games in international football” is a sentence commonly used by international managers, however San Marino off is as near become immune out of this charging as it receives.
A state which has won one match of football, who concede a mean of 4.32 goals per match, who are represented mainly by amateur players and also have not prevented defeat as a 0-0 draw with Estonia in 2014.
Most Scotland buffs would admit that even a 10-0 victory for McLeish’s team won’t exonerate them out of what happened on Thursday afternoon.
The stalemate contrary to the Estonians was the only time they’ve registered a point in European Championship qualifiers.
Sunday is likely to be San Marino’s 155th match. They’ve lost 14-9 of these. The numbers don’t lie about this particular occasion.
Scotland have been around in this very small enclave of Europe before – 3 times in fact.
On each occasion, they registered 2-0 victories and, in the most recent of these, under Craig Brown, they abandoned the Scotland fans sweating until breaking the deadlock in the 71st minute through Matt Elliott.
This was with a stronger Scotland side compared to the main one McLeish has cobbled together with this opening doubleheader.
Besides San Marino’s lone victory over Liechtenstein, that came 15 years ago in an amiable, one of their best seconds was leading England using the 2nd fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history.
Truly, Davide Gaultieri is still asked for his autograph because of his attack Graham Taylor’s team, that came after he latched on to a brief pass-back from Stuart Pearce.
It took England 20 minutes to locate an equaliser in a match that they had to win seven to endure a chance of reaching the finals in the United States.
They gained 7-1. Taylor resigned days later.
Since Gaultieri’s goal, each of those 20 times San Marino have found the net was greeted as though it is the goal that’s won the World Cup itself. Case in point, their equaliser in Norway, where they scored far from home for the first time in World Cup qualifying for 1-5 years during the last campaign.
San Marino could be the state whipping boys of world football, but the passion for this particular jersey remains.
Every match is like a final for the Sammarinese. Even the Scotland players must treat them the same means to avoid the unthinkable.