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

Friday, March 27, 2015
Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal Ladies. Pic: TGSPHOTO

Jordan Nobbs believes Arsenal Ladies are ready to challenge for the league title again after their disappointing slump to fourth place last season.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Georgie Kean (right) vs Kevin McCauley. Pic: Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO

Islington light-middleweight Georgie Kean says he is putting his time to good use as he waits to learn the extent of a troublesome knuckle injury.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck left) and Newcastle United's Remy Cabella (right) battle for the ball at St James' Park,

Even trailing a sequence of six straight victories in their wake, it takes a substantial leap of faith to envisage Arsenal snatching the Premier League title.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
FC Unity U12s with the Camden & Regent's Park League trophy

FC Unity Under-12s clinched one trophy after beating Total Goal Falcons 6-0 – and are fast closing in on their second of a possible four.

Most read sport

Competitions

Funky adidias iPhone cases up for grabs!

We’ve teamed up with adidas Originals to give away four iPhone 5/5s cases.

A Sun-Maid goodie bag could be coming your way.

Easter is a time for reflection, thanks and celebration, and what better way could there be to spend the holiday than treating yourself to good company and great food?

Digital Edition

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


Our trusted business finder