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

Yesterday, 17:30
Kirk Drummond took four wickets for South Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego

South Hampstead continued their winning start to the season with a commanding seven-wicket victory away against North London, who remain winless with just one point on the board in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 16:45
Highgate's Craig Gourlay (left) took 5-23 and then hit an unbeaten 42. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Craig Gourlay’s all-round display maintained Highgate’s maximum record this season as they beat Harrow Town by four wickets to stay top of the Division Three table in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 16:15
Hornsey's Chetan Patel was frustrated by Brentham's negative tactics. Pic: Max Flego

Sean Solia equalled the highest score by a Hornsey batsman in league history – but his side were left frustrated as Brentham ground out a draw in Division Two of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 15:38
Brondesbury captain Adam Wilson, who took 5-60, was pleased with his side's performance in the field but says the batting must improve. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Brondesbury captain Adam Wilson was frustrated by two crucial umpiring decisions as Eastcote gained a controversial winning draw off the final ball of Saturday’s Division Two match in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder