England’s World Cup qualifying opponents San Marino have a second-hand car dealer in their squad and come to Wembley as the worst-ranked side who have never won a match and barely played for FOUR MONTHS!
- England host San Marino in their first World Cup qualifying game on Thursday
- San Marino are the worst-ranked team and have a squad full of part-time players
- Their team includes a car dealer who is having to take holiday to play England
- The 1,000/1 longshots have also barely played in four months due to Covid-19
England’s opening World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Thursday will be against a team who has barely played in the last four months and includes a second-hand car dealer.
Part-timers San Marino are currently the lowest-ranked team in the world while odds on them to beat Gareth Southgate’s men are as long as 1,000/1.
The international minnows, who have never won a competitive match and conceded 730 goals, have only just returned to training in the past few weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
England are preparing to face a side that has barely played in months and includes a car dealer
Car dealer Lorenzo Lunadei is having to take from his holiday allowance to play England
Second-hand car dealer Lorenzo Lunadei, 23, revealed he is even having to use his holiday allowance to take part in their away World Cup qualifying games.
Speaking to The Sun, Lunadei said: ‘We are both nervous and excited. We are nervous because we’re going to face such a great team.
‘We only restarted playing a few weeks ago because the amateur championships in Italy and San Marino were stopped by the government due to the pandemic.
‘For this reason, even though we trained individually until February, we should take this into account when we go into the next three World Cup qualifiers over the space of a week.
‘In the day I work as a car dealer at Autocom Riccione, and have done for the past two years.
‘I need to travel with the national team so I have to use my holiday allowance for away games. But I am happy to do it as it is my passion.’
Lunadei (pictured left with his partner and right on his company’s website), has worked as a second-hand car dealer for last two years and admitted he is nervous about playing England
Matteo Vitaioli (left), who works for a packaging firm, is set for his third Wembley appearance
San Marino’s squad is full of part-time footballers and also a player who works for a packaging firm in Italy and is about to play at Wembley for the third time in his career.
Forward Matteo Vitaioli, 31, added: ‘We train three or four times per week in the evening, because everybody has a job.
Previous results against San Marino
17 Feb 1993 England 6-0 San Marino
17 Nov 1993 San Marino 1-7 England
12 Oct 2012 England 5-0 San Marino
22 Mar 2013 San Marino 0-8 England
09 Oct 2014 England 5-0 San Marino
05 Sep 2015 San Marino 0-6 England
‘We normally start after 7pm until 9:30pm. I work for SIT Group, one of the biggest companies in San Marino that produces packaging.
‘I work in a graphic office from 8:30am till 5:30pm. I started to work here seven years ago and it’s quite complicated when we have to travel abroad.
‘I’m lucky because my company never complained about it but some of my San Marino team-mates have had to withdraw from internationals abroad because of work.
‘We are really excited even if for some players it won’t be the first time in London.
‘I’ll be at Wembley for the third time in my career and some top players from La Liga and Serie A do not manage that. Obviously, it will be slightly different because Wembley won’t be sold out on Thursday but empty.
‘But it is still exciting. We will share the pitch with players that we are used to seeing on TV.’
San Marino, a nation of 33,000 inhabitants, have lost all of their previous six encounters with England, conceding a total of 37 goals.
The most famous moment in San Marino’s sporting history was when Davide Gualtieri scored against England after just 8.3 seconds in a 1993 World Cup qualifier. The Three Lions eventually won 7-1.
San Marino’s trip to England on Thursday is followed by two more qualifiers at home to Hungary on Sunday and Albania next Wednesday.
England have won all of their six previous games against San Marino, scoring 37 goals
Davide Gualtieri scored against England in San Marino’s most famous sporting moment in 1993