The San Marino football team have hit back after suggestions from Germany striker Thomas Muller that it is pointless for them to be involved in qualifying for major tournaments.
After the world champions secured an 8-0 win over the minnows in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Friday, the Bayern Munich man said, per Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror: “I don't understand the point of such uneven games like these, even moreso because of the crowded fixture list.”
The comments angered San Marino director of communications Alan Gasperoni, and he has issued the following 10-point rebuttal to Muller, per Malyon.
"It served to show you that not even against the teams as poor as ours you can't score a goal," read the first point on Gasperoni's list. "...and don't say you weren't pissed when [Aldo] Simoncini stopped you scoring."
"It served to make it clear to your managers (and even at [Franz] Beckenbauer and [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge) that football is not owned by them but by of all those who love it, among which, like it or not, WE are included," the director of communications continued, before suggesting the match shows some "follow their dreams and not your rules."
Scathingly, Gasperoni also said "it served to confirm that you Germans you will never change and that history has taught you that 'bullying' is not always guarantee of victory."
In the additional points, Gasperoni also referred to the inspiration the match would provide to players from the country, how monies accrued from the match could be used in San Marino and how it would have assisted German starlet Serge Gnabry, who bagged a hat-trick on his full international debut.
On the night, while Muller was left frustrated, Germany’s other stars helped themselves in front of goal, with a treble from Gnabry as well as strikes from Sami Khedira, Jonas Hector (2), Kevin Volland and an own goal from Mattia Stefanelli giving Joachim Low’s side a comfortable victory.
In fairness to Muller, he wasn’t the only high-profile figure to lash out at San Marino. Former Germany striker Rummenigge brazenly stated that “San Marino has got nothing to do with professional football,” per Malyon.
Despite their heavy defeat, the San Marino Twitter feed saw the positives during the game, referring to the 13-0 loss they suffered at the hands of Germany in 2006:
San Marino @soccersanmarino
Ten years ago we were 0-7 down already, now it's only 0-3. In another ten years we'll draw against Germany, Mark my words. #SMRger2016-11-11 20:59:43
In San Marino’s history, they have only one victory on record, a 1-0 triumph over Liechtenstein in 2004 in a friendly.
The most recent point they won in a competitive match came against Estonia in 2014, when they drew 0-0 in a UEFA European Championship qualifying tie; a goal scored by the team against Norway in October sparked wild celebrations, although the minnows eventually lost 4-1.
Muller, meanwhile, is rated among the finest forwards in the game, having established a stellar reputation with both Bayern and the Germany national team. As noted by Malyon, it’s reported he earns in excess of €4 million (£3.5 million) every year.