NOT Another San Marino Story

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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Club Season 2025/2026: The Cantera Treble

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The very first year of the famous Cantera Policy proved to be extremely successful for San Marino, as the Titani really managed to win everything this season. Highlights of this fantastic Treble were SM's 10th consecutive Serie A championship and a stunning 5-0 win against Bayern to seal our Champions League triumph (8th CL title overall). Success in Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup and U20 league completed one of the best seasons ever for our club.


Many of our players performed greatly throughout the year as they won various awards and individual accolades: Alessandro Paolone was Serie A & CL Top Scorer as well as European Golden Boot; Gianluca Macina won Best Player of CL; Emanuele Bartoloni won Best Player In Europe Award.

Francesco Campana, Emanuele Corbelli, Lazzaro Dessi, Matteo Leonardi, Emanuele Bartoloni
and Alessandro Paolone were selected for Serie A Team Of The Year. Gianluca Macina, Francesco Monti, Alessandro Paolone and Nicola Pedrocchi made the CL Dream Team.

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Focus on three key figures this year:

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Right-back Francesco Campana was always a special player for SM, at 17 he had to start in the EURO 2024 Final and completely outplayed Germany's world class left winger. Now 19, Campana is automatic first choice for club and country (well not that there's much difference...) and one of the best fullbacks in football, also being described as 'wonderkid' (fourth in SM history after Villa, Bartoloni and Monti). Bartoloni was our POY as he spent all season creating chances for the strikers and scoring a few goals of his own (15 goals and 27 assists in 38 apps), while Paolone was simply Paolone, with 57 season goals and multiple Top Scorer awards (Serie A, CL, Europe) including a typical hat-trick in CL Final. Bartoloni and Paolone, already fan favourites, also reached club legend status at the end of the season - quite an achievement for Bart at only 23!




 
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gogogo golem

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Those three are unbelievable and the treble with SM only really shows what you've built up. You still lurking in the SM leagues in the hopes of finding a decent regen by any chance?
 

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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Those three are unbelievable and the treble with SM only really shows what you've built up. You still lurking in the SM leagues in the hopes of finding a decent regen by any chance?
Always keep an eye on SM leagues esp when I have to fill out U21 and U19 squads in case of injury crisis or when regulars are with the senior team.

The standard of local league players has improved a bit, many players could have been sure fire starters for NT back in 2011-2016 but now they just don't cut it. I signed the best one (a serie C caliber striker aged 19) for the club, his value reached 1M after one season on loan at Slovan Liberec, but his PA looks very uninspiring.
 

gogogo golem

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So it looks like the SM leagues are getting better. How are they doing in Europe? Can I see a screenshot of the UEFA nation coefficients for them and the qualifying spots?
 

kandersson

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San Marino Under 21: Toulon Tournament 2026

San Marino U21 get their first taste of international competitions as the young Titani were invited to the annual Toulon Tournament (aka French Youth Invitational) at the start of June. A few of our best U21 players were unavailable for this competition as they were part of the 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup, nonetheless I'd say we did pretty well in France:

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Undefeated in the tournament, including 0 goals conceded in five matches! Our squad actually boasted some very good defenders and defensive midfielders, which was enough to dominate the competition despite an average group of attackers.

Promising midfielder Nicola Schenone was chosen as Best Player of the Tournament, and all top three were actually SM players:

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Not really the most prestigeous international tournament, but a nice experience for the lads and the first semi-official title for our U21 squad in SM history.


Next update with start of World Cup 2026.


@golem: can't go in FM right now, hopefully will take those screens in a couple of days (all screens here were saved previously)​
 

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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National Team: World Cup 2026 Group Stage

World Cup Expectations

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San Marino enter World Cup 2026 as one of the best national teams in footbal after winning the European Championship in 2024 and the Confederations Cup in 2025, also boasting No.1 spot in latest FIFA Rankings. Captain Niko Micheli believes San Marino have a 'great chance' of winning the World Cup, and the bookmakers tend to agree with him.

No real changes from our Confed Cup winning squad, winger Matteo Leonardi fully recovered from last year's injury and won his place back from Scarano. Otherwise, it's same old San Marino: reigning World POY and Golden Ball winner Alessandro Paolone is the biggest star of a group that has really won EVERYTHING in last two years, at both club and international level. We have a well-balanced team with international class quality and adequate depth, plus a couple of superstars that can change the course of any game, namely Paolone and Emanuele Bartoloni. Featuring the likes of Honduras, Cameroon and Slovakia group stage shouldn't cause much trouble, though the Sammarinese FA expects our team to reach AT LEAST the semi final - seems like someone has become spoiled in the years...


Group Stage

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We did win all three games to claim first place in our group, though I can't say I was really impressed with our performances here. We struggled a bit finishing our chances and had to rely on head-bomber defender Lazzaro Dessi to unlock containing strategies of Cameroon and especially Honduras (Paolone missed like 27 times one-one-one with Honduras keeper...), while we did pretty well against Slovakia, arguably the best team we had to face in the group. Actually I played several back-up players vs Slovakia as I rested some tired legs and players with a yellow card (including Paolone), and the team seemed to perform much better, with striker Nicola Pedrocchi scoring a brace in his first WC start.

The Good: we did well taking care of the ball and dictating tempo, while also conceding zero goals in group stage. We were also able to rest several players in the third game, so our squad should be fresh for the rest of the tournament.

The Bad: we created lots of scoring opportunities vs Honduras but our finishing was absolutely hopeless (Paolone and Bartoloni in particular). We did even worse against Cameroon as we failed to create real chances despite dominating ball possession. This trend seemed to stop with an efficient performance vs Slovakia, we need to mantain this form now to stand a chance against bigger teams.

The Ugly: our key players Paolone and Bartoloni have failed to impress so far, they're supposed to be the stars of our team but their back-ups have performed much better when given the opportunity, especially striker Nicola Pedrocchi. Our next opponents Algeria are just an average team and I expect to win easily, but to beat the likes of Brazil or England in next rounds we need our superstars at their best.


Up next: 2nd Round VS Algeria




 
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kandersson

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World Cup 2026 2nd Round: Algeria VS San Marino

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We got the result we wanted here with a solid 2-0 win against a less than stellar Algeria side, though I can't say I'm particularly happy with our performance. Algeria simply refused to play football using ultra-defensive strategies and trying to slow down the tempo, which resulted in a somewhat boring match with a small number of scoring chances for both sides. Luckily left-footed artist Matteo Leonardi (MoM) made the difference today as he scored a beautiful brace (he's now San Marino top scorer with three goals in this World Cup) to send SM to the quarter final.

VERY worried about the current form of our superstars Paolone and Bartoloni: Bart got an assist and a good rating today but he's not playing at his best, failing to beat his man off the dribble and taking too many shots from distance. Paolone is doing even worse, he's having zero impact on the game and right now he can't seem to create any danger both on and off the ball (hasn't scored a single goal in this WC so far). Hopefully they're saving the best for the big matches, well I guess we'll find out in the next round...


Up next: Quarter Final VS England
 

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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World Cup 2026 Quarter Final: San Marino VS England

I was a bit surprised to see England instead of Brazil here as the Selecao squad look much stronger in my opinion, actually I thought this could be all good news for us having tested the strength of Brazil in last Confed Cup! At club level we have always dominated English sides like Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City - even this year - clubs that also give lots of players to their NT. Last time we faced England at international level we lost 0-9 (which is still the heaviest loss in San Marino history), though I have to say things have changed quite a bit since then...


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Uhm apparently things haven't changed enough looking at this disheartening 0-2 loss. All my fears and bad feelings proved to be justified as we once again struggled to impose our typical attacking football and failed to create consistent scoring chances. Not that England deserved to win, in fact they didn't do much for the whole 90 minutes and scored a couple of freak/random goals (corner kick fumble and a ridiculous 40-yard goal). We had more shots and better possession, but in the end it was a very uninspiring team performance with a couple of individuals doing particularly bad (wonderkid defender Jacopo Villa made a mistake that cost us first goal). Our key attackers Bartoloni and Paolone were again disappointing with another sub-par performance from both. World Cup dream ends here...


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France deservedly won the tournament (beating England in SF), while San Marino FA eventually decided to keep me as NT manager despite our disappointing campaign in Mexico. How kind...

The truth is we deserved to go out the way we did, and I have to take full blame for that: I noticed from the start that Bartoloni and Paolone were in suspect form but never questioned their role on the team. Back-up striker Nicola Pedrocchi scored two goals in his only start (VS Slovakia) and certainly deserved more space in next rounds, still I felt I had to stick with my Golden Ball winning superstar. Paolone failed to score a single goal in the four games he played - something that had never occurred even when he was 16! It's hard to understand what happened to him in this WC: Paolone came from an excellent season at the club (European Golden Boot, Serie A Top Scorer), even scoring a hat-trick in CL final; he kept scoring for fun in pre-World Cup friendlies and his morale was sky high, and then... this! Same goes for Bartoloni. Oh well, I guess I'm just like all those stupid real-life managers...



Dear readers, that's the end of the story! Of course there are still some goals I would have liked to achieve (winning World Cup, qualifying for the Olympics, producing/nurturing new wonderkids) but I feel it is more a matter of patience and playing to win single matches now, rather than developing a 'project' for club or country. Having already won a treble in first year of the Cantera Policy means there's not much room for improvement at club level. I reckon winning the World Cup after EURO and Confed Cup titles would be the ideal way to end this fantastic journey, but honestly I can't play four (or eight... or twelve..) more seasons only to win that elusive WC. As I said before, building a 'project' rather than achieving single results was always the most enjoyable part of this challenge for me. The success of the Cantera Policy and making SM a legit contender for major international tournaments will always be my greatest achievements :)


I'll post a few more updates with a career summary and my personal hall of fame for club and country, any other screen you want to see feel free to ask :)

This is the end...

[video=youtube;NoBFhdeR9PE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoBFhdeR9PE[/video]






 
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kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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I'm sad, that's all I can say.
Well I'm devastated XD but maybe the quest for WC will inspire me for FM13...

here are the screenshots you requested a couple of days ago, SM leagues have definitely progressed in last 15 years:

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here's a screen of Diego Redaelli easily the best player produced in SM league in last years - doesn't have a single chance to make the senior NT tbh

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@kitchin75: I did try to upload the file to mediafire but was taking like forever and had to cancel. It is quite a large file (100+mb) especially fro my internet connection standards, if I find a way to upload in reasonable time I'll do that.
 

gogogo golem

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But still how could you abandon SM like that? The domestic league will soon be strong enough to give you a bit of a boost.
 

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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What leagues did you load up at the start of this save?
all italian leagues + all players of San Marino nationality to have the NT available

@pokerjoker: thanks mate, I know for experience it is very hard for me to play anything else but SM challenge so I'll probably give it a go in FM13 as well :)

@golem: I feel I've done enough for San Marino at this time ;)
 
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