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[FM19] The Great San Marino Challenge

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Posted (edited)

San Marino Challenge - Season 10

San Marino National overview

I decided to split this update into two, as the National Team update required a bit more detail than usual. The last national update spoke about how we exceeded expectations and managed to win our Nations League Division C group (hurrah!). This automatically put us in the mixer for the playoffs for the Euro 2028 if we couldn't qualify for the tournament conventionally...

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Despite some good results, we couldn't (damn you, Kosovo!).

So we were thrown into the pot to attempt to qualify through the Nations League playoffs. We drew Bosnia & Herzegovina in the semi finals. We were ranked 125th in the world with them 57th. I wasn't hugely confident...

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Giacomo Raschi, you little hero! He'd gotten a decent amount of playing time in Serie A and CL, which has aided his development, but he still played out of his skin. Things are pretty nice up front with him and Tomassini (4-4-2) now.

So, onto the Final. A win here would cement this squad in history as the first to get San Marino into a first international tournament. So who would we get...

Wales. Ranked 39th in the world. Again, I didn't fancy our chances...

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Wow. We absolutely battered them, which meant San Marino were going to Euro 2028!!! Could we put up a good enough fight to perhaps upset the odds once again to make the knockout rounds?!

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No. Quite simply, no. We got trounced. Goldenboy Tomassini got sent off in the opener as we lost 4-0 to Turkey, before a 2-0 defeat to Romania dumped us out after only two games. The third game was against Germany where we lost 3-1. Tomassini did however manage to get a goal (taking his national tally to 51 goals in 79 appearances).

We did really well just to be there, so losing all games wasn't too much of a surprise. It was fun and hopefully we can get to a World Cup next time!

Edited by robredo87

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11 hours ago, kahuna399 said:

Can anyone explain how ye all do such nice layouts here ? i put my pics in and then just listed down in a line :( as you can guess, im pretty new at the forum world haha

Hi kahuna399. I just select everything and centre it. Good luck with the challenge!

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On 21/06/2019 at 20:58, kahuna399 said:

Anyone looking to start a save on this, I had to fix the system to start the other day.

Note that the u18s and 20s have been entered into the league systems in this database and for 1 more added thing i added the San Marino Academy as a feeder club

italy fix.fmf 38.74 kB · 5 downloads

Thanks for that going to give this a go now

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I won the Serie D play off but didn't get promoted any ideas?

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San Marino Calcio 2019/20 Season Update

As I mentioned when I kicked off this challenge, I was playing CM03/04 and only recently started FM - so the tactics particularly have been a learning curve.  Steam tells me I've played 371 hours (the wife says more!) - and after all that time I've finally got a promotion!  We were top for ages - but not playing that well.  We had a little nervous time when it was possible to earn a playoff spot - and dropped to 2nd.  With 4 games to go, we had a team meeting and then managed to win the last 4 - overtaking Modena to win the title.  No playoffs needed thankfully!  The club now turns pro and I need to set about finding a striker and a couple of wide players particularly.

 

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Youth Intake

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Not quite the immediate quality as last year, in that no one came straight into the team - but 3 or 4 with potential.

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San Giovanni 219/20 Season Update

After winning the playoffs last year to lift the title, we finished 3rd in Group 1, up from 6th last year, but in the playoffs we got knocked out in the semi-final.  We lost the first leg 1-0 away, and I was confident we could overturn that at home - but we went down to 10 men in the first half (a second yellow) and struggled after that.  Fortunately, we won the third place playoff game 2-0 with a solid performance.  There was good news after the season though - the board asked me if I thought turning semi-pro was a good idea, to which I said "YES!!" and we will be a semi-pro outfit at the end of June 2020.  That's far ahead of where I thought I would be after 2 years as I inherited a woeful squad.

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Youth Intake

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Another promising intake - highlighted by a central midfielder who can help next season.  Unfortunately, we are pretty strong in this area, so he might have to start from the bench and rotate in now and again.

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Posted (edited)

5 Year Review (2018-23)

 

2018-19: 1st (Serie D)

2019-20: 7th (Serie C/B)

2020-21: 8th (Serie C/B)

2021-22: 1st (Serie C/B)

2022-23: 8th (Serie B- Promoted via playoff)

Hey all. Just going to do a dump of a bunch of stuff from my first 5 years of the San Marino challenge. I’m new to SI forums but have been working on this challenge for several months. Going forward, I’ll give end of seasons reviews for Calcio and year end reviews for the SMNT.

Notable Events

The first five years of this challenge have been a resounding success, with titles in Serie D and Serie C/B and the most unlikely of promotions from Serie B. Ordinarily, this would give me concern that I got too much, too soon. However, the second biggest development of the save has alleviated this concern somewhat: the acquisition of San Marino Calcio by an American tycoon. This investment came too late to influence my rise up the divisions (it was completed after the winter window of my promotion campaign from Serie B), but the money was swiftly invested into facilities, youth recruitment, youth coaching, and scouting. These investments should yield benefits in the long-term for building up the San Marino NT, as well.

Serie D (2018-19)

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Serie C (2019-20)

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Serie C (2020-21)

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Serie C (2021-22)

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Serie B (2022-23)

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Tycoon Takeover

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Key Players
Franco Israel (GK)- 127 appearances. Has over 40 clean sheets. Bought on a free from Juve and sold for $500k with a loan back to Palermo. Will likely try to loan him again for next season.

Gabriel Zappa (RB)- 121 appearances. Has 5 goals and a whopping 33 assists in his San Marino career. Joined on a free from Inter in 2019, now valued at $180k.

Choe Song Hyok (AML, AMR)- 94 appearances. He has been with us for three seasons, scoring 36 and assisting 24. Got him on a free from Arezzo and is now valued at $300k.

Giuseppe Aurelio (ST)- 144 appearances. He has 57 career goals and has been with us on loan every season except 2019-20. He played a massive role in seeing us rise through the divisions and we may finally bring him in permanently, since his contract is expiring.


San Marino Watch (* indicates Serie B potential, ** indicates Serie A potential)

Federico Conti* (19 y/o ST, 22 caps, 2 goals)- Good player who played a role in Serie B, scoring 7 in 23 appearances. Just a bit short of the standard required for Serie A, but will try to get him regular playing time via loan or transfer.

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Francesco Gualandi** (18 y/o ST, 8 caps, 2 goals)- The youngest all-time goal scorer for the San Marino NT, Gualandi looks like he will spearhead the attack for the foreseeable future. I am guessing that he will be the man to break Selva’s all-time record of 8 goals. He spent last season on loan in the Serie C. I had intended to make him a part of the first team set-up on his return, but the unexpected promotion may mean another loan.

 

 

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Gabriele Albani** (17 y/o CM, 9 caps, 0 goals)- Another player who is probably a year away, I am most excited about this guy’s ceiling. He has good technical, mental and physical attributes for a CM, and he has dramatically improved on a monthly basis. I think he is really going to run the show for club and country in the next few years, and I am expecting him to be among the better CMs in Serie A.

 

 

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Daniele Bacciocchi* (20 y/o CD, 26 caps, 0 goals)- Has not played at senior club level since a pair of starts in the Serie D days. Injury proneness has inhibited him a bit. If he can stay healthy, he could play a significant role with the national team for another decade plus. However, he will likely be moved on at some point, as it is unlikely he will ever feature for Calcio. The matches would also be important for jump-starting his development.

 

 

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Alberto Righi** (19 y/o CD, 14 caps, 0 goals)- Definitely the most accomplished Sammarinese player at club level for me, Righi is a first choice CB. He has 48 appearances over three years, including a high of 22 matches played last year. The jump up to Serie A will necessitate the acquisition of one or two CBs, but the worst case is that he will get 20+matches through rotation.

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Marco Vagnetti** (16 y/o CD, 0 caps, 0 goals)- Another high potential CB from the Calcio academy, Vagnetti has yet to even appear for the Sammarinese youth teams. However, he is considered to have very high potential, with particularly strong mental attributes for such a young player. Unfortunately, he does have the dreaded dual nationality, and with him receiving interest from Roma, Udinese, Lazio and Atalanta, I assume he will wait before committing to a national team. If he does choose San Marino, I am guessing that he would usurp Bacciocchi’s place in the XI in short order.

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Everyone but Gualandi is a dual Italian national, and they all chose to represent San Marino (Vagnetti has not been confronted with the choice yet). I think I am a bit fortunate, as I suspect that Righi and Albani have potential that is JUST low enough that they will be really, really good for San Marino, but will not hold out for Italy. I am not sure I will be so lucky with Vagnetti, given the caliber of clubs interested in him.

 

I also think the relative quality of Righi, Albani, and Gualandi will probably lead to at least one of them reaching a century of caps. However, one of the stranger recurrences in the NT is the repeated call-up of Bacciocchi instead of Righi, despite the fact that Righi has always been the better player.

Club Finances

 

The Diawara transfer to Real Madrid, which brought in nearly $1M in a compensation payment, made the finances look healthier than they actually were. We lost money year over year, despite operating well within the financial parameters set forth by the board. Just before the takeover, the club’s financial situation was poor. We were $1.5M in the red, and I figured the summer of 2023 would require a thinning of the squad and a reset of the wage structure. This would probably have kept me in the Serie B for at least 2 more seasons. Additionally, I would have probably been forced into the sale of youngsters, especially Righi. Fortunately, I got the dual boosts of promotion and a tycoon takeover, which really eased the financial issues at the club.

Overall, I would say that the financial management under my stewardship has been fair. The club faced some debt issues, but this occurred despite me keeping wages significantly below budget. However, my recruitment approach was more costly than necessary, as I often wasted wages by bringing in too many players and also failed to bring in players that could later be sold for profit. Now that I am in the Serie A, I think I will actually be able to wheel and deal a bit and generate profits.

Five-Year Objectives/Future Plans

 

-Challenge for European spots.

-Take over national team and improve NT ranking to top 150.

-Win a trophy.

-Run a net transfer spending surplus by year 4.

 

The windfall from the takeover and my unlikely promotion to Serie A means I will be investing heavily in the coming years in facility upgrades and youth development. The board has also agreed to end restrictions on scouting range, so I will probably be looking overseas for players to bring in cheaply. 

Transfer Plans

 

I don’t have any firm rules around transfers, but I will conduct business with two goals in mind: not stymying the growth of Sammarinese players and being able to turn a profit. As such, I will definitely look overseas for potential signings, especially in Africa and South America.

 

 

San Marino National Team

 

The senior national team trended ever so slightly upward through 2023, with wins over Belarus, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Moldova, as well as a slew of draws, most notably against Scotland. I will be taking them over next year. On the positive side, the Conti-Gualandi strike force should be very effective, while CM Albani and CB pair of Righi and (hopefully) Vagnetti would build a strong spine in the NT for a decade.

 

 

At youth level, things were slightly better. The U21s averaged over 3 wins and 2 draws per year, although they didn’t advance in any tournaments. Meanwhile, the U19s advanced out of the first qualifying round of the U19 Euros on two occasions, but finished bottom of the second round group both times.

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Edited by mcleera
Double posted some images

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San Marino Calcio 2020/2021 Update

This was my first season in Serie C - and I went in just wanting to stay up.  It was a mid table kind of season - but with 1 going up automatically and 10 in the playoffs, it certainly keeps the season alive.  We went into the last game, against the champions Vicenza, needing a win and help - and we got it with a 2-1 win (scoring the winner in injury time) and Rimini drawing 2-2 against the bottom team Vis Pesaro.  After that big win - we played our parent club Cesena, but we lost 0-2 - never getting a foothold in the game, and that was that.  I need to fix GK, right winger and striker - I'm trying to sign permanently a striker we got on loan in January, but I suspect he's going to want too much money.  I did take the opportunity to raid Folgore for a 16 year old new gen - particularly as the youth intake wasn't great this year.  So, an inconsistent season - with some big wins, but also losses - but I managed to play a number of youth players which will hopefully help down the road.

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Posted (edited)

San Giovanni 2020/21 Season Update

My second team was a bit of an add-on when I started the save - but has been probably more enjoyable than Calcio.  Having said that, we lost 2 big players before the season - youth player Federico Gasperoni and right winger Daniele Zafferani (both San Marino internationals) left for La Fiorita.  We started the season really well, winning  group A - but then in group 1 we had way too many draws (a record number for the league, in fact, including playoffs) and finished 3rd.  The Champions Playoffs went really well though - we won the quarter-final after it finished 2-2 on the basis we were the higher seed.  We went 2-0 up in the first leg of the semi-final - but somehow lost 2-3.  However, after that we played really well.  We won the second leg 3-0 - and after falling behind 1-0 in the final, we stormed back and won with ease 4-1.  So, a second Champions Playoff win in 3 years of the save.  We made it through to the final of the cup - we were 0-1 down, but managed to equalise late in the game - but lost 1-2 in injury time, so we missed the double.  But, we're back in Europe - we lost the first game in the very early Champions League prelim qualifying round last time around - hopefully we can improve and go 1 or 2 stages deeper before we have a go at Europa League qualifying.  On a plus note, the youth intake saw us land a cracking striker Davide Madau, who played in the Cup and scored 3 goals in his 3 appearances, although he was quiet in the Cup final.

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San Marino Group 1 2020.jpg

Edited by duesouth

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Posted (edited)

San Giovanni European Campaign 2021

The prelim qualifying for the CL in Gibraltar saw us matched up against HB of the Faroe Islands - a game I thought we might able to win.  After going 1 down, we thumped them 8-1!!  Not bad playing 4-1-4-1!

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That saw us through to the final 3 days later against Linfield - a better team, but I thought we had a decent shot at the win.

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This one went to extra time - not great so early in the season with little training before the game, let alone friendlies - but it was 15 year old Davide Madau who did the business, scoring twice in ET for a 3-1 win.

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I figured that would be the end of the run - and after pulling PAOK (Greek Champs) out of the hat, I was pretty sure - and so it was... getting thumped in the first leg away - but scoring a goal in the second leg!

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That led us to the Europa League qualifying - and another tough draw against Qarabag.  We conceded in the 1st minute of the first leg - but got an away goal right on half time - and somehow held on for the draw.  Unfortunately, the second leg we were poor and lost - and that was that.

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That left the bank balance at over £2.5 million.  I've not invested in facilities at all - the priority being turning pro.  Having amateur contracts leads to players leaving for nothing far too often (we lost our centre half before the Qarabag games - he was slow, but good in the air and reliable).  So, I went to the board and was surprised when they agreed at the first time of asking.  So, we are turning pro at the end of the season.  The next lot of cash that comes through the door will be invested in facilities etc.

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Edited by duesouth

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A little late, but decided to give this challenge a go!

Started the save with Sunday League reputation and no coaching badges for an extra challenge, although to be honest this challenge is tough enough to begin with.

 

The first season was rather disappointing, and we struggled to a 5th place finish in the league, and lost to Bari in the Quarter Finals of the cup. However, the second half of the season saw a dramatic upturn in form, so hopefully we can carry that forward. The biggest problem I had this season was finding someone to bang in the goals. We had the second best defensive record in the league, only letting in 19 while keeping 17 clean sheets. If we can improve on the 45 goals that we scored this year I think that we have a great chance of going up, so a new striker will be our top priority this summer. 

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In terms of youth we had two newgens make their debut for the club this year, with our youth intake being declared a potential golden generation for the club. While it is possible that maybe we find a use for one or two of these youth players in Serie C, it does not look likely for any of them to truly make it to the top level. Our most promising youth player was generated at the club prior to the start of the season, as I mistakenly left on the option to generate players at the start of the save. While he may not be a superstar, Ghiotti looks like he will be able to play a part at the club in the next few seasons, and has already made 4 appearances for the San Marino u21 international side. 

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Sorry for any bad formatting, my first go at this!

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San Marino Calcio 2021/2022 Update

This season was a real bump in the road.  At the mid-season break, we were  7th and hoping to kick on in the second half of the season.  But a terrible run saw us falling and falling down the table.  We ended up in the relegation playoffs.  We won the first leg, but only 1-0.  We were trailing 0-1 in the away leg, but with 3 minutes to go conceded and therefore it was back to Serie D :(

The main downside was that 4 key players wanted to leave - 2 with relegation release clauses, and 2 because they were Serie C CA and Serie B PA players, one of whom was our central defender Riccardo Gatti, the star of our first youth intake.  Gatti was sold - as was Stefano Pellini, our DM/DLP.  The other 2 stayed as no one met their release clauses.  The poor season was compounded with an awful youth intake.

San Marino Calcio 2022/2023 Update

I decided before the season that I was going to be aggressive to get out of Serie D at the first time of asking.  I was able to sign a centre midfielder on a free (Alessendro Ollio), with the intention to use him as an attacking playmaker.  San Marino national team central defender Filippo Fabri was released by his club - and I was able to sign him to replace Gatti.  I shifted to a 4-4-2 and increased pressing intensity.  We were neck-and-neck with Reggio Audace, but were able to beat them both times we played them to give us the edge.  We had a little wobble, but won our last 5 games to pull away and won the league with just 1 defeat all season (to a team that got relegated!).

Unfortunately, the youth intake was awful for a second consecutive season - we only signed two of them.

San Marino Calcio 2023/2024 Update - Part 1

San Marino striker Nicola Nanni was without a club for a year - but didn't want to sign for us when we were in Serie D - but he came onboard on a free at the start of the season.  We started the season with 2 losses - but then went on a better run.  I decided to stick with the same tactics as last year - but after we got to 6th, we had a run of 7 games without a win (6 draws!) - so for the last game before the winter break, I eased off with the pressing and changed Ollio to a DLP.  That got us a 1-0 win.  I've been keeping tabs on Pellini and Gatti.  Pellini was on the transfer list at the start of the year, but they wanted 16k for him and there's no money in the bank (despite a takeover - if anything the financial side is looking worse!).  However, I noticed just before the January transfer window that Pisa were letting him go for nothing - so I pounced.  So, my relegation has now only cost me Gatti - and his determination is 6 anyway, plus we've got Fabbri.

National Team Update

On the whole, this has been really slow - even in the Nations League.  However, in the last year, results have started to pick up slightly.  I've just finished World Cup qualifying - and didn't finish bottom of the group - managing to beat Belarus and finish above them.  We almost got a draw against Poland, but conceded in the 87th minute - but at least I can see progess.  I am finding players from the Sammarinese league aren't developing - I haven't been afraid to start them young, but they don't develop - and indeed even regress.  A striker new gen popped up for Udinese - and he's currently on loan at a Serie B club. He tends to turn up tired though - but he's our best player by a mile and hopefully will keep getting better.  In a perfect world, we'd be able to sign him for Calcio - I tried to get him on loan this season, but failed - but at least we were in with a chance!  A few more gifts like this would be welcome!  Clearly San Marino Calcio is the way forward, but with the last 2 youth intake classes being awful, it will make progress a little slower.

San Giovanni 2021/2022 Update

This season was hard work.  We went out of the cup in the first round, which has become an issue as it's at the same time as an international window and most of our team are involved with one of the three San Marino national teams (we now only have 3 foreign players - we had 15 at the start of the save).  We qualified for the Champions Playoff, but went out at the first time of asking - losing 0-3 at home and only managing a 1-1 draw in the second leg - so no Europe.

San Giovanni 2022/2023 Update

Our first season as a professional club was a bit hit and miss.  I moved away from our 4-1-4-1, but it's been a struggle to find the right system and results were inconsistent.  We again struggled in the cup - but this time managed to get to the semi-final of the Champions Playoff, before losing.  However, we did win the 3rd/4th playoff game on penalties.  As we've had success in Europe, San Marino now has 4 European places - so we qualified for Europe thanks to our previous successes in Europe.

San Giovanni 2023/2024 Update - Part 1

Our Europa League qualifying campaign was over very quickly - getting a tough draw against a Hungarian team, and going out 3-1 on aggregate.  I was hoping to do better in the cup this season - but again international callups killed us and we lost to Juvenus Dogano over the 2 legs.  League form has still been hit and miss - but we should qualify for the Champions Playoffs - and as long as we find some form for that, we'll have a chance.  The Sammarinese season is a bit odd in that the real excitement is the playoffs - and then if you qualify for Europe.

In general, our youth intakes have been good - but I was finding they weren't developing that well.  Prospects were getting to 19 and were the same CA as at 15/16.  So, I thinned out the youth team, tweaked training and the coaching set up - and also invested some of my European cash into facilities.  Through the first half of this season, I've noticed 2 or 3 players who are developing nicely and I'm going to work them into the first team rotation - although that's hard as there aren't a huge number of games (particularly when you lose every year in the first round of the Cup :lol:).

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2023-24: Serie A

League: 5th Place (Euro Cup)

Italian Cup: 4th Qualifying Round (l. to Torino)

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Season Summary

This season was, obviously, way beyond expectations, as we were picked to finish 20th in Serie A. We were able to ride an exciting, high-scoring brand of football to a 5th-placed finish, leading the league in goals scored (100) and goals conceded (77), which secures European football for next season. We even flirted with Champions League qualification in the latter stages of the season, but losing four of the final six matches of the season ended those hopes. In any case, it was a pretty low-stress season. We were on 30 points from 18 matches by New Year’s, having won 4 in a row around Christmas. All told, we went 8W-2D-1L (26 points) in the league from December through February. As such, the second half of the year was primarily about punching up to Europe rather than avoiding relegation.

The low points of the season were not really blatant, due to the massive overperformance in the league. Obviously, due to the high-risk style we play (utilizing the same 4-2-4 formation we played coming up the leagues), there were times we were pretty well turned over by our opposition. Roma beat us 3-7 away, which was our biggest loss in the league. We were pretty safe to finish top-6, so I didn’t care all that much about the defeat. On the other hand, we were throttled 1-5 by Torino in the Italian Cup. Getting smashed in the most winnable competition we were in by a team that was ultimately relegated was frustrating. I guess the silver lining is that we went on the aforementioned run in the immediate aftermath of this loss.

Transfer Summary
Notable In: Simone Rabbi ($4.5M), Elio Capradossi ($4.3M), Emir Murati ($2.3M), Ricardo Tonin ($2.2M), Titas Krapikas ($300K), Mehdi Derouiche ($165K), Antonio Candela (Free), Giuseppe Aurelio (Free),
Notable Out: None

Rabbi (AML) came in and was first choice, playing as an inside forward and banging in 26 goals his first season. Worth every penny. Capradossi (CB) was a lucky addition. He handed in a tranfer request at SPAL the day before deadline day and we were able to stretch the budget to bring him in just under the gun. He performed reasonably well, with a 7.0 average rating. Murati (CM) and Tonin (ST) were brought in from Milan and became first team regulars. Murati did a job in the middle of the park, but Tonin was a bit disappointing up top (8 goals, 4 assists in 28 matches). Krapikas is a Lithuanian keeper brought in from Sampdoria who started every league game. Despite conceding 77 goals, he was quite good, being called upon often to bail out an aggressive team with a leaky defense. Mehdi Derouiche is a Tunisian AMR. I thought he was going to be amazing, but has been pretty average when called upon. The only good thing is that I brought him in so cheaply that I should be able to turn a profit, considering he is valued at $1.5M. Antonio Candela (RB) stepped right into the first team, and he was dangerous in attack, chipping in 9 assists. Aurelio (ST) had been a perennial loan signing for us, and we finally got him in on a free. He has played in every division for us now, serving as rotation player for us in Serie A. In that role, he had similar production to Tonin, albeit with more substitute appearances.

The transfers out for the season were primarily bit-part players who came up with us through the leagues and were not likely to get a game.


Key Players
Nicolo Giuliani (ST)- Scored 26 league goals in the second year of a two-year loan spell from Roma. Won the European Golden Boot, European Golden Boy and World U21 Footballer of the Year. So, yeah… pretty good.

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Marco Pompetti (CM)- In a season of surprises, Pompetti may have been the biggest. Going into the season, I thought his quality was just a bit short of Serie A standard. He proved me wrong by playing to a 7.3 rating in 28 appearances.

Alberto Righi (CB)- Love when a youngster comes good. Played 32 matches to a 7.15 rating. His performances have seen long-term interest from Juve, Man United, Arsenal, Napoli, and PSG.

San Marino Youth Watch

Note: I am only including Sammarinese players that have not yet graduated from my academy. Players that are in and around my first team will not be included here anymore.

Graduated: Alberto Righi, Gabriele Albani

Congratulations to Albani! He broke through halfway through the season, becoming a regular starter for the second half of the season. Played to a 7.1 rating and is on the way up.

Francesco Gualandi (ST)- He had a modestly successful loan to Serie C side Vicenza, scoring 11 league goals. I will likely give him a run in the side next season.

Federico Balducci (CM)- Balducci looks like he will be quite good, and he is improving in almost every attribute monthly. Best of all: Serie A potential and no dual nationality.


Club Finances

The club finances have been fantastic. We made between $1.1 and $1.5 million per month. By the end of the season, we were sitting on $34M in cash, up from $24M in August.

 

Completed goals to date: Promotion from Serie D, Promotion from Serie C, Promotion from Serie B, Survive a Season in Serie A, Qualify for a European Tournament,

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2024 San Marino National Teams

After taking the job in December, 2024 was my first year in charge of the SMNT. The competition for the coming year was Nations League Division D. Of the 4 friendlies in the first half of the year, beating a top-70 ranked Hungary was the highlight. The Nations League group consisted of Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus. Unfortunately, the Cypriots had too much for the group, finishing with a perfect 18 points, owning 5-1 and 2-1 wins over us. However, we cruised to 2nd place with a sweep of Luxembourg and a win and draw with Malta. These results pushed our world ranking up to 168 in November 2024, up 11 spots from the beginning of the year.

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The U21s finished their Euro qualifying campaign by winning 3 of their final 4 matches. Unfortunately a poor start in 2023 doomed them, and they finished with 14 points from 10 matches, good for fourth in the 6 team group. Not a bad showing, as they finished one point off Slovakia for 3rd and were 8 clear of Georgia. Meanwhile, the U19s made the second round of Euro qualifying after finishing second to Wales in a group that also included Bulgaria and Scotland.

Completed goals to date: None (Filippo Berardi has 11 goals for the SMNT, but I assume the challenge is to break Selva’s record with a Newgen)

World Ranking: 168 (+11 places)

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2024-25 San Marino Calcio

League: 9th place

Italian Cup: First Round (l. to Atalanta)

Euro League: Second Knockout Round (l. to SLB)

Season Summary

Going into the season, I had thought our 5th place from last year was not sustainable. Due to this, I set the board expectation for a mid-table finish, while my personal target was top half. I had the top of the formation set with Rabbi and Martino on the wings and Gualandi and Giuliani up front, so I was really excited about adding Mattia Viviani from Man City and the Colombian wonderkid Leonel Leon from Santa Fe. The season opened well enough and we were European contenders through October, when our fortunes turned…

 

On the European front we did decently in the group stage, losing twice to United but taking all 12 points off Bordeaux and Osijek to see us through to the knockout stage. This success was the polar opposite of our league form, however, as we won only one game between October 21 and Christmas. These results saw us tumble down the table as far as 16th, and for the first time in the save, a tactical change was necessary. I elected to drop a striker and put a defensive mid in. However, the club was short on quality DMs and I decided to make a move for another Colombian wonderkid, Victor Villamizar from Nacional. We continued to struggle through January as we crept toward the relegation zone, but things changed when February hit. We smashed several opponents in the league, most notably a 4-0 against Crotone, which really took us away from the relegation zone. Despite this success, the highlight of the month was definitely an 8-2 aggregate victory over FC Kobenhaven, which set up a date with Portuguese side SLB. Unfortunately we could not keep the run going, as SLB won 2-0 on aggregate. We were a bit unlucky, as we really had opportunities and just could not convert. After going out of Europe, we had a go at European qualification through Serie A, but just couldn’t quite recover from our midseason malaise, finishing 5 points back of Lazio for the final Euro Cup spot.

 

This one was a bit more of a slog than I would’ve liked, but we did okay overall.

Transfer Summary
Notable In: Mattia Viviani ($7.75M), Victor Villamizar ($1.5M), Leonel Leon ($1.5M), Arsen Lladrovci (Loan), Marius Erwig (Loan)
Notable Out: Titas Krapikas ($4M), Andrea Zani ($400K)

 

Viviani was a massive new signing, returning to Italy from Man City. He was our best central midfielder and got stronger as he settled into San Marino. Meanwhile, 18-year old Leonel Leon (CM) was okay over 35 league games and continues to improve. In the winter window, I brought in Lladrovci (LB) and Erwig (GK) to fill weaknesses in the squad, and both performed well. I will try bringing them in on loan again.  Lastly, we signed another Colombian wonderkid, Villamizar (DM), to suit our change in formation. He played almost every match for the remainder of the season, and played to an impressive 7.1 average rating in league and continental competition.

Losing Titas Krapikas (GK) was obviously a big blow for us, especially considering that the bid came in from a Saudi club in late September. He had gotten off to another strong start, but he had his head turned by Al-Hilal. I tried to hold on to him, but the squad came to me and urged me to sanction the move. I ultimately allowed him to leave to avoid upsetting the harmony within the squad. The silver-lining here is that I turned a $3.7M transfer profit on Krapikas in just 14 months. Less impressively, I sold Zani for $400K, with a 10% sell-on clause, two years after buying him for $26.5K. Still decent business.

Key Players

Nicolo Giuliani (ST)- Not quite as prolific as last season due to injury, but still bagged 23 goals between the league and Euro Cup, while also laying on 14 assists. Unfortunately, Roma is looking to give him a spot in their first-team, so he likely won’t be coming back.

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Simone Rabbi (AML)- Another 20+ goal season. He is just lethal in his inside forward role.

 

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Victor Villamizar (DM)- Was the strongest performer in midfield after his arrival. Played 15 and scored 3. In my opinion, he was the signing of the season, since he was brought in to specifically fill a tactical need that nobody at the club was well-equipped to take on.

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Marius Erwig (GK)- Brought some additional stability to the back and was an important factor in the improved fortunes of the club after the New Year.
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San Marino Youth Watch

Graduates: Francesco Gualandi

Congratulations to the most recent academy graduate, F. Gualandi! He made 10 starts and 10 substitute appearances, bagging 7 goals. It was a bit stop-start for him because of injuries, which caused him to miss about 3 months. Even so, he admirably made the step up from the Serie C football he played last season.

 

Allessandro Gualandi (ST)- The newest member of the Calcio academy, Gualandi is decent technically and has good mentals for a young player. The physical attributes are a bit concerning, but we will wait and see how he develops. However, the biggest problem is that he is a dual national and is refusing SMNT call-ups.

 

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Marco Vagnetti (CB)- Vagnetti only got one substitute appearance in the league this year, but he is the fastest improving player at the club. He is going to be in the CB rotation next season as the 3rd/4th choice. Unfortunately, he is also a dual national refusing call-ups to the SMNT. Even worse, at the age of 18, he started all 7 matches for Italy at the U20 World Cup. Unfortunately, his progression is making it increasingly likely that he will play for Italy internationally.

 

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Federico Balducci (CM)- Balducci is now a regular at international level with Albani in the midfield. Restricted only to appearances for the U20s, he made over 40 non-competitive appearances with a 7.0 average rating.

 

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Nicola Pasolini (CB)- Not quite the potential of the other three, but still has a shot to be a Serie A player. Dual national, but I assume he will eventually declare for San Marino.

 

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At this point, I think Vagnetti will be a regular next season, while Gualandi and Balducci may get some action in cup matches. I doubt Pasolini will reach the first-team here, due to the fact that I am fairly loaded up with a bunch of promising young CBs from Europe, but his decent determination gives him a chance of maximizing his potential.

Club Finances/Infrastructure

We have continued to pour resources into all aspects of player development, and it has gotten quite expensive. The board approved $20M to improve youth and senior training facilities over the summer, which should help us continue to press on. We also had a stadium expansion completed early in the season, with the stadium’s capacity now at 8500. Predictably, we were regularly selling-out so I requested the club build a new stadium. To my surprise, it was approved, and they are in the planning phase of the new stadium. I was told a proposal would be forthcoming in the summer of 2026.

Even after the huge training ground expenditures, we still have $40M in the bank. The Euro League money obviously made a huge difference for us, and fortunately the American owner is not shy about spending it. I’ve been handed a transfer budget of $21.5M and have $12.6M in spare wage budget.

Offseason Plans
The finances have put us in great position to improve on the field. The primary needs in player recruitment are a first-team AMR, a rotation DM, a first-team RB, a first-team LB, a striker, and a keeper. My team has been a bit overly-reliant on loan players since coming into Serie A, and I have finally been given the financial backing to change that. The key loan players I have are Lladrovci (LB), Erwig (GK), Martino (AMR), and Giuliani (ST). I am definitely going to try bringing Erwig and Giuliani back on loan, just because of the quality. However, I think I can get players in on permanent deals that are equal to or better than Lladrovci and Martino. At RB, I just want to find some competition/cover for Candela, who is my only RB above Serie C quality. We also need a DM to provide cover for Villamizar.

Many of the outgoings depend on who I can bring in. Up top, I am considering moving Tonin ($10.25M value) and Aurelio ($2.1M). The emergence of Gualandi and quality of the up and coming youth has probably signaled the end of Aurelio’s time in San Marino. However, if the price was right, I would probably accept a deal for Tonin instead and hold on to Aurelio as cover. Among the wingers, I will probably try to sell Derouiche ($1.7M). He is on huge wages, has not developed, never performs, and is taking up one of my non-EU slots. In midfield, Murati ($5.25M) and Pompetti ($5.5M) are both receiving interest from Torino. I’m not actively shopping either of them, but if a decent bid comes in, I may take it. At the back, I am considering selling Walter Ricci ($1.2M). He has a killer delivery in dead-ball situations, but he makes too many mistakes defending. I will also be moving along one of my CBs to free up a squad space for Vagnetti to ease into the first team. Manuel Martins ($1.7M) seems the most likely candidate here, but Elio Capradossi ($4.6M) could move. He is thinking he might want a move to a bigger club, and at 29, this might be a good opportunity to move him if someone is willing to stump up some cash. He also has a match highest earner clause (had to do it to get him in), which is going to become increasingly problematic as our ability to spend on players increases and his skills decline.

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Does anybody know what is the best/reliable database to download to use this. My last attempt of this challenge was before the latest update and the database doesn't work anymore.

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 XaW - San Marino Calcio - 2018/19

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Table | Squad | Transfers | Finances

So, I just had a look around and noticed I've never given this challenge a real go before. I've known about it for aeons, but never got around to it. So here I am, having a go. I've decided to give myself some guidelines for how I'm going to treat this challenge. First of all, this will not be a youth only, however, it won't be far off. I'm going to rely mainly on my youth intakes, but I'll allow myself to both bring back previous players (both current and future) as well as any Sammarinese players I deem good enough for the team. All the transfers the club did this season were before I took over. The club had some good players and even some decent Sammarinese players I could use, though the bulk were Italians as expected. I went for my basic trusted 4-4-2 and fitted it to the players I had and it went very well. We were part of the top of the table throughout, but we couldn't keep up with Reggio Audace, who finished on top. So we went into the playoffs. In the end we won it, but I think it might be an issue with the mod I downloaded, because I don't seem to be promoted by winning it. Oh, well, I'll take another year in Serie D and hope to win it next season.

In the Serie D Cup we beat Milano City, Tamai, Monterosi, Pergolettese, Castrovillari and Sarnese to reach the final. There we beat Este to clinch the cup title.

Our youth intake were pretty good and even a very good Sammarinese player, but he is part Italian and do have the option of joining them. I'm only going to name Sammarinese players here.

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Player statistics

Most apps:
Alessio Pozzi - 44 apps
Alessandro D'Addario - 41(1) apps
Manuel Spadafora - 41(1) apps

Most goals:
Matteo Gasperi - 22 goals
Samuel Rrasa - 16 goals
Manuel Spadafora - 15 goals

Most assists:
Piero Tamagnini - 14 assists
Matteo Gasperi - 10 assists
Alessandro D'Addario / Luca Battistini - 8 assists

Highest average rating:
Matteo Gasperi - 7.61
Enrico Marconi - 7.38
Piero Tamagnini / Alessandro D'Addario - 7.37

Season    Division             Position        Europe              Notes and Achievements     
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2018/19   Serie D Girone D     2nd             N/A                 Won playoff, but no promotion, won Serie D Cup

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 XaW - San Marino Calcio - 2019/20

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Table | Squad | Transfers | Finances

After we had a close race last year, and should have been promoted, winning the playoff and all, I expected us to be part of the top this time as well. And we were! From early on we were part of the top and actually only lost a single game the entire season. And that game were the final league match of the season. So close to becoming real invincibles, but no cigar. Of course, this meant we won the league by a fair distance to the other teams, and we are too good for this league even without bringing in anyone other than last years youth intake. Now let's see how we look compared to the higher tier. After the promotion was secured we went professional.

After the regular season were done, we went into the Serie D Poule Scudetto, a small tournament for the winners of all Serie D leagues to crown a champion. In the group stage we beat Mantova and Savona to go through to the semi final. Here we narrowly lost to AC Prato on pens.

In the Serie D Cup we beat Lavagnese, Castidas, Trastevere, Campodarsego, Fermana and Lecco to reach our second consecutive final. There we beat Belluno 4-2 to claim our second title in a row.

We had a decent youth intake and a very good Sammarinese striker came through.

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Player statistics

Most apps:
Alessio Pozzi - 45 apps
Matteo Salcuni - 43 apps
Enrico Marconi - 42(2) apps

Most goals:
Samuel Rrasa - 32 goals
Manuel Spadafora - 29 goals
Matteo Gasperi - 22 goals

Most assists:
Piero Tamagnini - 22 assists
Luca Battistini - 15 assists
Alessandro D'Addario / Samuel Rrasa - 14 assists

Highest average rating:
Luca Battistini - 7.89
Manuel Valentini YP19b - 7.87
Enrico Marconi - 7.81

Season    Division             Position        Europe              Notes and Achievements     
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2018/19   Serie D Girone D     2nd             N/A                 Won playoff, but no promotion, won Serie D Cup
2019/20   Serie D Girone D     1st             N/A                 Promoted as champions, won Serie D Cup

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San Marino Calcio 2023/2024 Update - Part 2

The second half of the season we were pretty inconsistent.  We lost a couple of games as the pressure of needing one more win to officially stay up got to us - and went into the last game outside of the Serie C promotion playoff spots (11th = playoffs!!).  Fortunately, we had the bottom team at home - and we smashed them 5-0, got some help elsewhere and finished 9th.  However, the playoffs were over very quickly.  We drew Arezzo - who played 4-3-3 against us.  We actually were doing OK, but went 1-0 down.  We got back to 1-1 - but with 20 minutes left I had to go for it as a draw would mean they progressed due to being the higher seed.  Unfortunately, we got hit on the break and lost 2-1 - but I think promotion to Serie B would have been too soon.

I made some tough off-season decisions, as I really want to kick on next season.  A number of players out of contract were released, including Enrico Marconi, Matteo Salcuni and Alessandro D'Addario who have been with us for 5 seasons.  As I have 3 youth intake keepers coming through, I elected not to re-sign our keeper Tommaso Anderloni who was on loan for 3 seasons and then signed permanently for the last 2.  It was the same story with the decision to release D'Addario - I have 3 young right backs coming through, one of whom has Serie B potential - hopefully D'Addario finds another club so he's sharp for international duty - certainly there are precious few other right backs even close to good enough for the national team.  But, it was a case of doing what's best for the long term save - if Calcio don't get to Serie A, we're never solve the financial issues and develop facilities enough to bring really good players through.

I made 4 new signings - an inverted winger who we had on loan became permanent, a left sided central defender, a 31 year old left back (I don't usually sign older players - but I felt we needed some experience/leadership) and a striker (hard to find a DLF, but finally did so just before pre-season training started).  I also signed a right winger on loan - and he's fast, plus has 2 feet, so I'm hoping he becomes a real terror!  I am now 3 deep at each position - I have my starting XI - another on the bench (12 subs in Serie C and D) and another XI in the U20's.  I also upgraded the coaching staff, getting in a new Asst and Coach who are much better.

Going into the new season, I'm really happy - this is most certainly the best Calcio team I've had (although for some reason, the wife didn't share my excitement when I told her all about it last night!!) - and I'm going to be a little more aggressive with my tactics to see if we can mount a promotion challenge.  I've played the first game of the 2024/25 season - a Serie C cup match.  We won 2-1 - but really could have won 10-1 such was our dominance.  Our pace and movement as an attacking force was superb - and we were very dangerous on the break.  The loanee right winger, Riccio, set up both goals - both times getting behind the full back and just flying by the covering centre half like he wasn't there!  He was coming inside a bunch in the first half, but then outside more in the second - his debut couldn't have been more exciting to watch!  That level of play before even any pre-season friendlies has me really excited.

San Giovanni 2023/24 Update Part 2

The second half of the season was a real struggle.  Having moved away from our 4-1-4-1 formation, we've struggled to find a real identity.  We made it into the Champions Playoffs courtesy of a last game of the season win (I thought those days were over) - and for a moment, I thought we had found form at the right time as we won the first leg of the quarter-final 3-0.  We drew 1-1 in the second leg and won the semi-final first leg 1-0 - but then got stuffed 4-1 in the second leg.  We were playing pretty well, but conceded a fluke goal and then lost the plot.  Fortunately, for the second season in a row we managed to win the 3rd/4th playoff game to qualify for the Euorpa League.  It was 1-1, but in extra time we scored a direct free kick - Federico Bugli the super sub with the goal.

I've already played the European "campaign".  We got a tough draw against MSK Zilina, but actually went 1-0 up after just over a minute with our now 33 year old left inverted winger Riccardo Dragoni, as he often is, in the right place at the right time to pounce after their keeper saved our initial shot (I'll try to remember to post a screen shot of him tonight at home - he's nothing, but has been superb for us throughout the save).  Unfortunately, 2 minutes later they got an away goal - and then added 2 more in the second half.  In the second leg, we actually played better.  We were 2-0 up playing a counter attacking game - they had 15 shots at the half, we had 3 - but led.  Just as I was about to switch things tactially just after the hour, they scored - which didn't actually change the equation that much.  So, I went for it - but got done on the counter for a 2-2 on the day.  That was over £200,000 in the bank - and the board agreed to improve junior coaching and youth recruitment.  Our youth facilities upgrade is still 4 months from completion.

In the last year, I've noticed a number of U19 players are developing - which is the first time it's happened in the save - so a mix of going pro (more training sessions), improved coaching staff and a re-work of coaching assignments seem to have combined to help.  The board are happy with the number of U19's who have got first team chances, so I guess that's helped too - although with very few games it does get tough to give them games.  On the negative side, at 15, striker Davide Madau was a 4* CA and when he played at that age he was scoring for fun.  However, if anything he's regressed and only scored 4 on the season - Michele Tini was top scorer with 9 - he's a 1* CA striker from our first youth intake who isn't big, strong or fast - but he can finish.  So, this will be a key season for Madau and with interest from Libertas, I might have a decision to make - particularly with 2 young strikers coming through and already developing to 3* CA (one of whom was on loan for the second half of last season).  I've noticed with the National Team, young/talented players almost regress if they stay in the San Marino League - so I might have to think about letting players leave for the Calcio youth system or something (no Italian clubs ever take interest in even super-talented young players).  For sure, finding an identity is the number one priority - I want to play 2 up top, but will have to experiment in pre-season.

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And here he is - Riccardo Dragoni - 43 goals from 135 appearances - not a bad return from a primarily Inverted Left Winger in a 4-1-4-1!

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1 hour ago, bigmattb28 said:

Gonna give this a go. What editor data file is everyone using?

I used the one from last page, but that is semi-flawed. Playoffs from Serie D won't promote you. Other than that it works fine.

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 XaW - San Marino Calcio - 2020/21

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Table | Squad | Transfers | Finances

So, Serie C, huh? When looking at the comparison between us and the other teams we are on the bottom half, but not that far of the other teams, so the main goal were to survive. I also brought in my first player this season, a backup goalkeeper (Sammarinese of course) who got a couple of games because of injuries.  As the season started it turned out, we are pretty good at football! We headed straight for a fight for the top spot with Livorno. And since the promotion playoffs go as far down as 11th(!), I were quite certain we would fight for a promotion spot from then on. As the season continued we kept on winning a lot, but Livorno usually kept up the pace and even overtook us a couple of times. In the end Livorno had a bad run in and lost 3 of their last 5 games to let us go top and keep it. So another promotion then. A bit before schedule, but I'll take it. Now, just to stay up next time around!

After the season were finished we went into the "Serie C Super Cup" along Bari and Juventus U23s. We lost to them both and finished 3rd.

We also competed in the Coppa Italia Lega Pro. Here we beat Vis Pesaro, Fano, Arezzo, AC Prato and Viterbese to reach a two-legged final against Monopoli. We beat them 1-0 away and drew 2-2 at home to claim the title.

The youth intake this season were divided between 3 great talents and a bunch of meh.. Unfortunately, none of the 3 were Sammarinese.

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The Sammarinese National Team

The Sammarinese national team are doing great, however, so I don't think the job will be available anytime soon. They finished 2nd in the UEFA Nations League D Group 4. Ahead of Malta and the Faroe Islands, only behind North Macedonia.

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In the World Cup qualifiers they are in a group with Armenia, Israel, Portugal, Slovakia, Estonia and the Czech Republic. They have already lost to Armenia and Israel, and I don't think they will make much waves, but they are doing quite well anyway.

Player statistics

Most apps:
Samuel Rrasa - 48(1) apps
Federico Gremizzi - 47 apps
Michelangelo Ricci / Luca Battistini - 39(2) apps

Most goals:
Samuel Rrasa - 23 goals
Riccardo Capicchioni YP20a - 20 goals
Matteo Gasperi - 18 goals

Most assists:
Enrico Marconi / Matteo Gasperi - 10 assists
Luca Battistini - 9 assists
Mario Poli YP19a - 8 assists

Highest average rating:
Enrico Marconi - 7.58
Matteo Gasperi - 7.52
Alessandro D'Addario - 7.44

Season    Division             Position        Europe              Notes and Achievements     
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2018/19   Serie D Girone D     2nd             N/A                 Won playoff, but no promotion, won Serie D Cup
2019/20   Serie D Girone D     1st             N/A                 Promoted as champions, won Serie D Cup
2020/21   Lega Pro Girone B    1st             N/A                 Promoted as champions, won Coppa Italia Lega Pro

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