Search

Hodgson defends minnows San Marino

PUBLISHED: 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 Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

17:34

Today’s Friday Fanzone Q&A talks to ‘Highbury Harold’ a member of the Black Scarf movement – the supporter group ‘that says it like it is’. Read on for this fourth generation Gooner’s views on all things Arsenal...

A look at how the White Hart Lane club have moved forward again this season despite improvement from most rival teams

11:30

Extra £410,000 to identify and support young talent

Yesterday, 12:29

All eyes will be on London North West Three where Hackney Rugby Club could potentially win the title if they comfortably beat bottom of the table Staines.

Yesterday, 09:37

Islington and Camden’s two District Primary School teams played out a pulsating semi-final in the Kay Trophy at Chase Lodge – with Islington just getting through on penalties.

Yesterday, 09:36

A school in Hampstead is ready to claim national glory at a major table tennis tournament.

Wed, 16:30

Kane will have to watch from his TV tonight as ‘unbelievable’ Dele Alli looks to improve his goalscoring record at international level

Wed, 12:00

Hendon manager Gary McCann has called on his side to remain focussed after a 2-1 victory over play-off chasing Needham Market.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

The Ham&High has teamed up with Weber® to celebrate the launch of its innovative Genesis® II collection at Weber® World at Sunshine Garden Centre in London.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now