Search

Hodgson defends minnows San Marino

16:35 13 October 2012

England manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

England manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Roy Hodgson has refused to join in with critics who claim San Marino have no place in international football.

Since they became a member of FIFA in 1990, last night’s Wembley visitors have won just once, against Liechtenstein in 2004.

The predictably one-sided statistics showed England had 25 shots to San Marino’s single off-target effort, enjoyed an 86% share of possession and won the corner count 17-0.

Analysis is utterly meaningless given the pattern of play did not change from the first minute to the last and, as Hodgson observed, the most significant event of the evening was Ukraine’s surprise failure to overcome Moldova in Chisinau which means England have a three point advantage in Group H.

Little wonder TV pundit Gareth Southgate felt moved to question: “What is the point of San Marino?”

Arsene Wenger’s sentiments may be even more pointed if, as expected, it is confirmed Theo Walcott cracked a rib after being clattered by San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini with a challenge that would have had them wincing on Hackney Marshes.

And it is not as if a republic that covers just 24 square miles and boasts a population of 32,000, roughly the same size as Bishops Stortford, could ever realistically show any significant improvement.

However, Hodgson is not decrying their existence as a footballing nation.

“It’s up to UEFA and FIFA to decide which countries are allowed into their competitions,” he said.

“San Marino have been in the Euros and the World Cup for some years.

“They play the way they play and do the best they can with the resources they have.

“We knew it was going to be attack versus defence.

“But I watched their matches against Montenegro and Moldova and it was a lot less attack against defence than our game.

“We can’t accuse them of playing a dirty game of football.

“There weren’t too many vicious fouls. There was one, which is the one which bothers us.

“But I wouldn’t suggest they shouldn’t be allowed in the competition.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

08:00
Per Mertesacker of Arsenal   (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker was delighted to reach the FA Cup final but admitted he was disappointed after picking up an ankle injury.

Yesterday, 20:39
Per Mertesacker of Arsenal   (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger admits defender Per Mertesacker is a doubt to face Chelsea next Sunday after hurting his ankle against Reading this evening.

Fri, 07:15
Brian Talbot (4) scores Arsenal's first goal in the 1979 FA Cup final

Former Arsenal FA Cup winner Brian Talbot has urged the holders on to further Wembley glory – starting with a comprehensive win over Reading on Saturday.

Most read sport

Competitions

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray, as well as a shiny new Sony Blu-ray player could be coming your way!

To celebrate the fifth series of George RR Martin and HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones, Ladbrokes is giving away a series one to four Blu-ray box set along with a Sony Blu-ray player to one lucky winner!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder