• San Marino made history by drawing two draws in official matches
  • Defender Dante Rossi is no stranger to this feat
  • Of Argentine origin, he only recently joined the selection, after 10 years of waiting

0-0 does not have a very good press in football. This is the score that all spectators dread when they move around the stadium. San Marino has recently chained two in a row, in the UEFA Nations League, against Liechtenstein and Gibraltar. Still, these two blank and zero scores have thrilled the whole nation.

It must be said that these two draws are synonymous with exploits for the Serenissima. For the first time, she has managed to keep her unbeaten position two consecutive official matches. Against Gibraltar, the performance was all the better as the Blue and white were reduced to ten in the 49th minute, following the red card received by their captain Davide Simoncini. Moved by this feat, central defender Dante Rossi collapsed in tears after the second match, with joy.

“What I felt at that moment? The excitement and happiness to have seen my teammates so proud and so enthusiastic in the locker room”, explains the person at the microphone of FIFA.com. “We were looking for results. And thanks to these two draws, we wrote the history of football, and more broadly that of sport, in our country.”

And in Dante Rossi’s mouth the word “country” takes on a very special meaning. Born in Guerrico, a small Argentinian town of 900 inhabitants near Buenos Aires, the 33-year-old defender waited almost ten years before obtaining dual nationality, via his maternal grandfather from San Marino: “The law did not allow me to get it before, ”he explains. “Besides, if I was so moved, it was also thinking about all the efforts made to obtain this nationality which was so dear to me. Wearing this jersey was a dream.”

Did you know ?

  • San Marino striker Adolfo Hirsh (39 caps) is a childhood friend of Dante Rossi. He too grew up in Guerrico.

Passion and grinta

“San Marino has always been part of my life” he continues. “I have always been curious to learn more about my grandfather’s roots, which are therefore also mine. San Marino is an exciting nation. I always knew it was the oldest republic in the world. I knew its geography, landlocked in Italy with its famous Monte Titano (main mountain of San Marino). I learned the language and their way of life… “

If San Marino brought a lot to Rossi, the reverse is also true. In just five selections, the rough central defender managed to stabilize a defense that required only that. “Having grown up and played in Argentina, I’m obviously imbued with the football there. I have this grit which is, I believe, unique to Argentinian football, “he said.

The San Marino starting eleven line up
© imago images

My idol ? Diego Maradona. There was and never will be anyone else like him. In “the humans”, and in a different style, I adored Juan Roman Riquelme. He controlled the game like no one else

Dante Rossi

Dream of victory

But if Rossi has his share in the nice results of the selection, the work is obviously collective, and the player is not mistaken: “We worked a lot as a group. Thanks in particular to our coach, Franco Varrella, we have evolved in our mentalities and changed the approach to our matches, to become more solid and better organized “, explains Rossi. “Today we come into the field with the awareness that we can compete with our opponents. We are starting to believe in ourselves and in our potential. I just hope this is just the start.”

We will quickly find out. The European qualifying campaign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, for which a draw will take place on December 7, is notably on the horizon. This will be the occasion for the Serenissima to benchmark against the tenors of the continent. “We are aware that there is a gap between us and the best European teams, but it is hard to know how much. However, what we are sure is that we have improved a lot. What we did is beautiful, but it’s already in the past. We must continue to work, to train, and to believe in it, “says Rossi, who no longer forbids himself to dream.

“I hope to be able to participate in these qualifiers. It is to merit that this happens, I will do everything to”, he launches before concluding: “This meeting is all the more exciting that we have now a new goal in sight: a first victory in an official match. “

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