European Championship qualifiers, starting 6 September
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We all follow our teams hoping that one day they will become the very best and win titles galore. However, what if you support a side that just keeps on losing. How do you cope if you support San Marino or follow Malta around the world waiting for a win? Let’s look at the worst football teams in Europe as we head into the next set of Euro 2020 qualifiers.
It was back in 1993 that England faced an uphill battle to qualify for the World Cup due to take place the following year. England had an easy game away at San Marino and needed a massive win and for the Netherlands to lose to Poland. Just 8.3 seconds into the game, San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri put the home side ahead. England went on to win 7-1, the Netherlands beat Poland 3-1 and England missed out on the World Cup finals.
Aside from all the first goalscorer bets placed on England players going down, San Marino taking the lead was just something that doesn’t happen that much. 26 years on, San Marino still have a terrible record in international football.
They are currently ranked 211th in the world and are the only European team not in the top 200. 31 games have been played since they last drew a match. That was away at Estonia in 2014 when drawing 0–0. They did win a match in 2014 but that was in a hybrid friendly against Italian club side Ballaria Igea (surely you must have heard of them!) who currently play in Serie D.
For a win over another country, you have to go way back to 2004 when they won 1-0 at home against Liechtenstein. 95 games have been played since then and since 1993 only five games have been played that they didn’t lose.
This week they resume their European Championship qualifying campaign with a home game against high-scoring Belgium. A little prayer might be needed before that game on Friday. Belgium are 4/7 (1.57) to win that match on a -5 handicap.
Even with more teams taking part in the finals, San Marino aren’t going to be anywhere near qualifying. They have played four games in their group, lost them all (of course), failed to score and concede 20 goals. You can get odds of 150/1 (151.0) at Betfair that that they beat Belgium on September 6.
San Marino have gone 20 internationals without scoring a goal. The last one came away at Norway in 2016. Their poor fans have been going to home international games since 2014 without seeing them get a goal. It’s 24/5 (5.8) at MarathonBet that San Marino score against Belgium on Friday.
At least Malta have a recent memory of what it’s like to win a game. They beat the Faroe Islands in a recent Euro 2020 qualifier. They’re not even bottom of their group and only four points adrift of the second qualifying position. So, you may ask, what are they doing in this article?
Well. that win over the Faroe Islands was a home victory. When it comes to playing a qualifying match away from home, the problems really start to begin. 51 away games in European Championship qualifiers since 1962 have failed to produce a single win. Thursday 5 September sees them travel to Norway in their latest qualifier. The odds on them winning that game are 90/1 (91.0) at BetVictor.
Here’s another country that barely knows what it’s like to win in the European Championships. Their last 60 games over 23 years have produced just two wins. Both came against Luxembourg (who have made some progress in recent years), with the last victory being in 2005. They are away to Bosnia/Herzegovina on Thursday 5 September and it’s 100/1 (101.0) at Coral that Liechtenstein get an away win. A Bosnian win on a -3 handicap is 5/6 (1.83) at Bet365.
They did at least get a 2-0 home win over Gibraltar in the European Nations League. Gibraltar themselves have played 23 World Cup and European Championship qualifiers without a win but recorded two in the European Nations League, so they’re not on this list. But just who will be on the lists for the world’s worst international and club teams, all will be revealed in due course.