But all that power is not equally spread among all European nations. Sure England, France, Holland and their fellow continental powers dominate practically every single award category and conversation about the sport, but those countries have to go through the qualifying process like anybody else. Two poor results and suddenly those Goliaths might go reeling. After all England, france and Holland have each missed a cup in the past two decades--so there's a chance (however mind-bogglingly miniscule) that a non-power could slip in via some choice upsets.
So, in that spirit, we're rooting for an avalanche of upsets to tilt the tables in favor of the tiny nation known as San Marino. Though the Sammarinese might boast of their millenium old sovereigncy or 400-year-old constitution, they have little to boast of on the pitch thanks to a record of 1 Win, 4 Draws, 119 losses.
|Hint, Palazzi is the one not getting the ball...|
But more likely, the team known as La Serenissima ("The Serene") will be content to draw from their own local pool of semi-pro players in an effort to catch lightning in a bottle and inspire a new wave of talent. The team does boast two players in (the lowest rungs of) Italian football in 25 year old Defender Mirko Palazzi, and 23 year-old Forward Allesandro Bianchi.
While the team has (unsurprisingly) yet to score a goal in 3 qualifiers while (again, unsurprisingly) allowing 13, they can take solace in the fact that they are only 2 points behind Ukraine and still technically alive for the World Cup. And sure that road to Brazil will require several big wins to erase their goal deficit and perhaps a nuclear disaster that wipes England off the map, but maybe, just maybe this can become reality.
Dream on San Marino, Dream on.