UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
San Marino v Scotland
Sunday, 24 March 2019, kick-off 5pm (UK time)
San Marino Stadium, Serravalle
Scotland will look to bounce back from a disappointing opening defeat in their UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying campaign on Sunday evening, as the squad travels to San Marino for the first time in 19 years.
It will be the sixth meeting in history between the two nations, the last coming at Hampden Park back in 2001 in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
On that occasion, Colin Hendry’s brace and strikes from Billy Dodds and Colin Cameron secured a comfortable victory for Craig Brown’s side in front of 27,000 fans at the home of Scottish football.
Nearly two decades on, Alex McLeish’s men will look to produce a similar display in Serravalle as they look to prove a point following Thursday afternoon’s loss in Astana.
Their hosts, who were beaten by Cyprus in their opening qualifier, will be hoping to avoid defeat in an international match for the first time since 2014.
#EURO2020 Group I Focus:— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) 4 December 2018
It was a 5-0 victory over San Marino back in November 1995.
Amongst the goals were Eoin Jess, Scott Booth, Ally McCoist and Pat Nevin.#NothingMattersMore pic.twitter.com/0zcYRiFBTU
Scotland captain Andy Robertson is expected to return in time for Sunday’s fixture, the Liverpool left-back having been ruled out of the trip to Kazakhstan due to emergency dental surgery.
Having also missed the match in Astana, Ryan Fraser and Callum Paterson are also in contention for a starting place in Serravalle after both playing in last November’s UEFA Nations League decider against Israel.
Kieran Tierney will miss the match, however, with the Celtic defender returning home due to injury.
Liam Palmer and Marc McNulty will be hoping to add to their tally of caps following their international debuts in Astana, whilst John Fleck, Liam Kelly and Stuart Findlay remain in contention to make a first appearance for their country.
Should Alex McLeish opt to shuffle his starting line-up, the likes of Kenny McLean and Lewis Morgan are available as attacking options after not playing against Kazakhstan, whilst John Souttar and Stephen O’Donnell offer an alternative in defence.
San Marino will be led by experienced defender Davide Simoncini, who plies his trade in San Marino with Libertas.
Midfielder Luca Censoni could earn his first cap against Scotland on Sunday, the 22-year-old having been included in the national squad for the first time ahead of his side’s meeting with Cyprus.
Where will the match be played?
The San Marino Stadium has been home to the San Marino national team since its first official match in 1990, a 4-0 defeat to Switzerland in a UEFA EURO 1992 Qualifier.
Capable of holding just under 7,000 spectators, the venue was officially opened in 1969 and is also home to San Marino Calcio, a club side playing in the fourth tier of the Italian league system.
The stadium was the scene of San Marino’s first-ever UEFA European Championship qualification point, earned from a goalless draw with Estonia in 2014.
How has San Marino fared recently?
Sitting in 211th position, San Marino officially prop up the FIFA World Rankings, finding themselves four ranking points behind the Bahamas.
Led by Franco Varrella, La Serenissima began their UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying campaign with a 5-0 defeat away to Cyprus on Thursday.
Since becoming an official member of FIFA in 1990, the 2014 draw with Estonia is San Marino’s only competitive point to date.
Last year saw Varrella’s side finish bottom of their UEFA Nations League group, suffering defeat at the hands of Belarus, Luxembourg and Moldova.
Who should Scotland be looking out for?
A relatively experienced San Marino squad has been bolstered by the addition of a few youthful faces in recent times, with 18-year-old attacker Nicola Nanni the youngest member of the playing group.
Fellow striker Matteo Vitaioli brings over 50 caps worth of experience to proceedings, in addition to being one of only three players in the squad to have scored an international goal.
Elia Benedettini is expected to be between the posts for Varrella’s team, the 23-year-old Novara goalkeeper having won 11 caps to date.
Where to watch
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports this Sunday evening, with the match kicking off at 5pm (UK time), with live commentary also available on BBC Radio Scotland.