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Sport of San Marino

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Football

San Marino, along with Italy, enjoys football (soccer) as its most popular sport.

Domestic Football

The San Marino Championship, run under the auspices of the FSGC (San Marino Football Federation), is the premier footballing competition in San Marino. The fifteen teams that take part in the competition are split into two groups of eight and seven teams. The top three from each section at the end of the regular season progress into a semi-knockout style Championship Playoff. The reigning champions are Pennarossa, who overcame rivals Domagnano, who defended the title, at the end of the 2003/04 season.

International Football

The San Marino national team played its first unofficial international match in 1986, in which it suffered a 0-1 defeat to the Canadian Olympic team. Its first competitive outing was on November 14, 1990, a 0-4 loss against Switzerland in the European Championship qualifier. These defeats set the tone for most of the following outings of the team, who are regarded as whipping boys in the qualifying sections of the European Championship and the World Cup.

They had a brief moment of glory when they faced England in a World Cup qualifier on November 17, 1993 and took the lead through David Gualtieri after just 8 seconds - the record fastest goal in international football. Despite this goal, only San Marino's third at international level, England won the game 7-1.

Until recently, San Marino's international record was one of almost total failure, with famous draws against Latvia and Liechtenstein being the only partial successes in an international career that contains over 70 defeats. However, on the 29 April 2004, San Marino recorded their first ever win, with a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein in an international friendly. Andy Selva scored the only goal in a close game that finally gave this tiny republic a footballing victory.

External links

Formula One

One of the Formula One races, the San Marino Grand Prix, is named after the state, although it does not actually take place there. It takes place at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in the Italian town of Imola, about 100 km northwest of San Marino, along the Via Emilia.

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