Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHow to solve a problem like San Marino - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough How to solve a problem like San Marino - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

How to solve a problem like San Marino

England’s five goals against San Marino on Friday only tells part of the destruction. San Marino were dominated from start to finish and they could  barely string a pass together. Quite frankly, despite the five goals, the game was boring. England had all of the ball and took 36 shots at goal compared to San Marino’s solitary effort.

It wasn’t a contest and post-game there was much talk of a pre-qualifying round for the lower ranked teams to avoid these extremely one sided matches. Instead of a pre-qualifying round, however, why not have a whole tournament for those teams who don’t quite cut it? An International Europa League if you will.

Conversely, it is easy to understand why countries like San Marino savour the big stage despite not being able to compete effectively. The opportunity to represent their country on a grand stage such as Wembley is something that will stay with them forever. 

The idea of a tournament, though, is something I would most certainly be in support of. I’m not sure if it is feasible holding the tournament in the same country that the Finals are taking place but perhaps in a neighbouring country at the same time. It would give teams at the lower end of the rankings a chance to compete.

Hold a pre-qualifying round and the teams that don’t make it through will have to play another qualifying round to enter into the secondary competition. It would throw up some great fixtures: Seychelles vs St. Lucia anybody? It could unearth talent that we never knew existed. The new Messi could be playing for the Barbados national team for all we know. OK, maybe not the new Messi but hopefully some new untapped talent.

Yes, staging another tournament costs a great deal but the revenue will be returned thanks to travelling fans eager to support their countries in a professional competitive tournament.

Now, just to think of a decent name for it.