Sardinia national football team

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Sardinia
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Sa Natzionale
AssociationSardinian National Sports Federation (Federatzione Isport Natzionale Sardu)
ConfederationCONIFA
Head coachBernardo Mereu
CaptainClaudio Pani
Most capsGianfranco Zola
Giuseppe Nioi (2)
Top scorerFrancesco Virdis (3)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Sardinia Sardinia 2–10  England
Oristano; 5 June 1990
Biggest win
Sardinia Sardinia 7–1 Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istràngios de Sardigna[1]
Nuoro; 19 March 2019
Biggest defeat
Sardinia Sardinia 2–10  England
Oristano; 5 June 1990

The Sardinia national football team (Sardinian: Natzionale sarda de Bòcia) is the official football team of Sardinia. It is organised by the Sardinian National Sports Federation (Federatzione Isport Natzionale Sardu), founded in 2012. The team has been colloquially referred with the name Sa Natzionale.

Sardinia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship.

However, since 2018 the National Federation is associated with the CONIFA, therefore the team can participate in the CONIFA World Football Cup and in CONIFA European Football Cup.

History[edit]

The first two international matches[edit]

The first official documented appearance of a Sardinian national team dates back to 1990. The England national football team was in Sardinia for a training camp in order to prepare the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, where, among other things, it would have played two of the three matches of the group stage in Cagliari (against Egypt and Ireland).[2] Therefore, it had been set up a XI formed by the best Sardinian players caught between Serie C and Amateurs to face the Lions in their first friendly match. The first players to wear the jersey of the Sardinian national team, under the orders of Mariano Dessì, dean of the Sardinian coaches of that time, were Nioi as goalkeeper, Spano, Moro, Bortolini and Tomasso in defense, the future sporting director of Cagliari Calcio Francesco Marroccu, Martinez, Tolu and Ennas in the midfield, Corda and Gianfranco Zola, the only professional and at that time militant in fresh Scudetto's winners S.S.C. Napoli. In the second half, Toffolon, Laconi, Carta, Nieddu, Di Laura, Mura, Napoli, Fara, and Angioni also entered. The game ended 10–2 for England: curiously, Sardinia went ahead, but only thanks to a voluntary own goal by Steve McMahon in the first minute before the island players still touched the ball. This gesture metaphorically symbolized what would have been any violent actions of the Hooligans, the most frenzied fringe of English fans, at the time feared throughout Europe. After this demonstration, given the imbalance of power, the game was dominated by England who scored with McMahon himself, a hat-trick by Neil Webb and one by Peter Beardsley, a double by Steve Bull and a goal by David Platt. However, for Tomasso there was the glory of scoring the first goal in the history of the Natzionale.[3][4]

Seven years were needed before watching again a Sardinian selection in a football field. In July 1997, at the Stadio Quadrivio in Nuoro, thanks to the Sardinian leader of the Sardinian separatist party Sardinia Nation Francesco Cesaraccio, a friendly match was organized between the national teams of the sister Islands, Sardinia and the Corsica national football team. Compared to previous calls-up against England, the roster contained several professional players and essentially the best of Sardinian football at the time. The manager was Gustavo Giagnoni who called Gianfranco Pinna and Giuseppe Nioi as keepers. In defense Gian Battista Scugugia, Vittorio Pusceddu, Gianluca Festa and Salvatore Matrecano. In midfield Pier Giovanni Rutzittu, Marco Sanna, Pietro Garau, Massimiliano Pani, Alessandro Manca, Igor Marziano and two sons of emigrants: the Sardinian-German Sergio Allievi and the Sardinian-Dutch Daniel Agus. In attack Gianfranco Zola, Tomaso Tatti, Roberto Manca, Roberto Cau, Emanuele Matzuzzi and another emigrant, the Sardinian-Belgian Antonio Lai. The goalkeeper Nioi and Zola were the only ones called in both appointments, thus becoming record holders in the caps ranking. The game itself had been balanced and Sardinia won by 1–0 with a goal at the twentieth minute of the second half by the future Chelsea F.C.'s striker Gianfranco Zola.[5]

First attempts of association as international member[edit]

History showed that the project of a National team of Sardinia remained occasional and it came back under the shadow. Only 11 years later it returned to talking about Nazionale Sarda. In 2008, in fact, in Gonnosfanadiga was founded the Lega Federale Calcio Sardegna (on the path of the Lega Federale Calcio Padania) by the tuscan Giampiero Sogus, son of a Sardinian migrant, with the involvement, as vice president of the Gonnosfanadiga's mayor Sisinnio Zanda at that time, as counselor the hotelier Marco Sardu and as secretary the lawyer Franco Loi. The League is immediately associated at the NF-Board, in that era the main board of the Non-FIFA international football, who organized the VIVA World Cup. While remaining officially affiliated with this confederation until its dissolution in 2008, no Sardinian national team will ever be formed, not even for friendly matches, except for an amateur tournament in Tuscany in which Sogus himself entered a team named "Sardinia" but with Tuscan players without island origins.[6]

The FINS era and the affiliation to CONIFA[edit]

In 2012, thanks to the cultural initiatives by Project Republic of Sardinia, another separatist party, the Sardinian National Sports Federation (Federatzione Isport Natzionale Sardu) was created with the aim of creating Sardinian national selections, not only limited to football. The first experiences has been indeed related to the creation of the Sardinian futsal team, which played in 2012 and 2013 first at Fordongianus and then in Nuoro for some friendlies against the homologous selection of Catalonia.[7]

Simultaneously, in 2013, due to the unfortunate occurrence of the Cyclone Cleopatra in Sardinia, which caused 19 victims, the Sardinian society returned to propose the establishment of a football selection, even if only for a charity match able to raise funds for the victims and for the reconstruction of the inhabited centers hit by the natural disaster. Vittorio Sanna, journalist from Assemini (one of the towns crashed by the disaster) but above all radio commentator of the Cagliari Calcio matches for the private radio station Radiolina, proposed himself for this organization and got in touch with the various professional Sardinian football players at the time. At the beginning the organization moved for a friendly match against Serie A's team Cagliari Calcio but the president Massimo Cellino did not give consent. Subsequently, an attempt was made to organize another friendly match against Corsica and the date was set for May of the following year, but eventually the plan had been abandoned.[8][9]

Only 5 years later, the Sanna's projects and the FINS plans coincided and on 13 October 2018 the Federation announced the affiliation to the CONIFA, the maximum international organization for football not affiliated to FIFA, which groups all the "National teams without a State" and organizes, among other competitions, the CONIFA World Football Cup, a trophy that replaced the VIVA World Cup. Simultaneously with the entry into CONIFA, FINS announced its participation in the 2019 European Championships in Artsakh.[10] The following week the new technical commissioner was announced, the Sardinian Bernardo Mereu, historical Sardinian coach who led island formations in the various professional and interregional championships.[11]

The first game of the FINS era, the third in total of the history of the Natzionale, was held on 19 March 2019 at the Stadio Franco Frogheri in Nuoro against the Istrangios de Sardigna, a selection formed by the best foreign militants in the Sardinian amateur formations, and won by the Sardinians 7–1. Francesco Virdis from Savona F.B.C. scored a hat-trick, Daniele Molino from Sanremese, Samuele Spano, Toni Gianni and Daniele Bianchi one goal each. For the occasion, over 50 players were called: the professional clubs, however, given the current sporting season, did not give the "go-ahead" for participation. The squad was therefore composed only by amateur players with the exception of two Arzachena Costa Smeralda's players, Robert Acquafresca (FC Sion) and Paolo Dametto (FeralpiSalò) with the latter two sitting on the bench, though.[12]

However, on 6 May 2019, FINS announced the withdrawal from participation in the 2019 CONIFA European Football Cup in Artsakh, accusing the absence of organizational and logistical guarantees to allow the Natzionale, composed by professional players, to face such a demanding trip, deciding to divert the commitment to the organization of the friendly match against Corsica. Despite the abandonment of the event, the federation has guaranteed the permanence in CONIFA.[13].

Colours and crest[edit]

Colours[edit]

From the FINS era, the main color used is light green, according to the federation "a historical reminder and a wish that Sardinia will return, also in the football field, to a period of cultural and economic prosperity, playing and opening up in first person to the world".[14]

Crest[edit]

The emblem of the Natzionale is a rounded shield with different elements taken from the Sardinian culture. In the upper part, on a green background there is the lettering, in Sardinian language, "Natzionale Sarda de Bòcia". In the main part there are the classic Quattro mori' although with the Saint George's cross in green version instead of red. At the center of the cross then, set in a green pentagon extrapolated from the iconic standard of the soccer ball, a stylized eradicated tree, symbol of the Judicate of Arborea , the last entity representing the independent Sardinia and symbol that still characterizes the coats of arms in the most different variants of more than 80 municipalities of the island.[14]

Kits[edit]

In the first match against England in 1990 the Sardinian XI played with a white jersey with blue details and a polo-style collar, while the shorts were red.[15] In the second experience in 1997 the formation used a total red suit with a large flag of the four Moors in the chest. In 2018, with the rebuilding of the National team, the new official jerseys, produced by the made in Sardinia technical sponsor Eye Sportswear, were presented. For the home jersey was chosen a white uniform embellished with green details, colours derived by the Judicate of Arborea and a pattern inspired by the typical embroidery of Sardinian craftsmanship in the central part of the shirt. Meanwhile, for the away jersey, it was decided to a completely red uniform with white lapels, in honor of the flag of the four Moors.[16]

Evolution[edit]

1990
1997
2018–

Capitains[edit]

Managers[edit]

Competitive record[edit]

CONIFA World Football Cup[edit]

Year Position P W D L F A
ConIFA World Football Cup
Sápmi 2014 Not a member of ConIFA
Abkhazia 2016
Barawa 2018
Somaliland 2020 To be determined
Total Best: TBC 0 0 0 0 0 0

CONIFA European Football Cup[edit]

Year Position P W D L F A
ConIFA European Football Cup
Hungary 2015 Not a member of ConIFA
Northern Cyprus 2017
Republic of Artsakh 2019 Withdrew
Total Best: TBC 0 0 0 0 0 0

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

List of players called for the friendly match on 2 June 2019 at Stadio Bruno Nespoli in Olbia against Corsica.

  • Manager: Sardinia Bernardo Mereu

Caps, goals and numbers as per 2 June 2019.[17]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Marco Ruzittu (1991-06-15) June 15, 1991 (age 28) 2 -0 Sardinia Arzachena
1GK Simone Aresti (1986-03-15) March 15, 1986 (age 33) 1 -0 Sardinia Cagliari
1GK Mauro Vigorito (1990-05-22) May 22, 1990 (age 29) 0 -0 Italy Lecce

2DF Simone Pinna (1997-10-17) October 17, 1997 (age 21) 1 0 Sardinia Olbia
2DF Mattia Pitzalis (2000-04-04) April 4, 2000 (age 19) 0 0 Sardinia Olbia
2DF Marco Cabeccia (1987-05-25) May 25, 1987 (age 32) 2 1 Sardinia Latte Dolce
2DF Francesco Pisano (1986-04-29) April 29, 1986 (age 33) 0 0 Sardinia Olbia
2DF Giampaolo Sirigu (1994-03-03) March 3, 1994 (age 25) 2 0 Italy Delta Porto Tolle
2DF Emerson Ramos Borges (1980-08-16) August 16, 1980 (age 39) 1 0 Italy Potenza
2DF Giuseppe Ghiani (1999-06-17) June 17, 1999 (age 20) 0 0 Italy Montegiorgio
2DF Andrea Congiu (1993-12-19) December 19, 1993 (age 25) 1 0 Sardinia Lanusei

3MF Daniele Giorico (1992-01-01) January 1, 1992 (age 27) 1 0 Italy Virtus Verona
3MF Giuseppe Nuvoli (1987-11-16) November 16, 1987 (age 31) 1 0 Sardinia Arzachena
3MF Pietro Ladu (1995-06-02) June 2, 1995 (age 24) 1 0 Sardinia Lanusei
3MF Daniele Bianchi (1988-07-21) July 21, 1988 (age 31) 2 1 Sardinia Latte Dolce
3MF Claudio Pani (1986-03-11) March 11, 1986 (age 33) 2 0 Malta Sliema Wanderers
3MF Alessandro Deiola (1995-08-01) August 1, 1995 (age 24) 1 0 Sardinia Cagliari
3MF Francesco Bianco (2000-11-23) November 23, 2000 (age 18) 0 0 Sardinia Torres

4FW Daniele Ragatzu (1991-09-21) September 21, 1991 (age 27) 0 0 Sardinia Olbia
4FW Robert Acquafresca (1987-09-11) September 11, 1987 (age 31) 0 0 Switzerland Sion
4FW Francesco Virdis (1985-01-16) January 16, 1985 (age 34) 2 3 Italy Savona
4FW Matteo Mancosu (1984-12-22) 22 December 1984 (age 34) 1 0 Italy Virtus Entella
4FW Andrea Cocco (1986-04-08) 8 April 1986 (age 33) 1 0 Italy Padova
4FW Samuele Spano (1994-07-07) 7 July 1994 (age 25) 2 1 Sardinia Budoni
4FW Daniele Molino (1987-01-15) 15 January 1987 (age 32) 2 1 Italy Sanremese

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players were involved in the match squad in the last 12 months, and are still available for selection.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Alessandro Lai (2000-01-01) 1 January 2000 (age 19) 1 -1 Sardinia Latte Dolce v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019

DF Alessio Fadda (1995-10-04) 4 October 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Sardinia Atletico Uri v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
DF Marco Russu (1995-10-15) 15 October 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Sardinia Nuorese v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
DF Simone Varrucciu (1992-09-11) 11 September 1992 (age 26) 1 0 Sardinia Budoni v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
DF Antonio Usai (1993-07-21) 21 July 1993 (age 26) 1 0 Sardinia Tortolì v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
DF Paolo Dametto (1993-06-28) 28 June 1993 (age 26) 0 0 Italy Feralpisalò v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019

MF Toni Gianni (1995-03-08) 8 March 1995 (age 24) 1 1 Sardinia Latte Dolce v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
MF Alessandro Masala (1996-11-17) 17 November 1996 (age 22) 1 0 Sardinia Latte Dolce v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
MF Stefano Mereu (1987-04-08) 8 April 1987 (age 32) 1 0 Sardinia Atletico Uri v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
MF Andrea Porcheddu (1999-08-19) 19 August 1999 (age 19) 1 0 Sardinia Arzachena v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019

FW Alessandro Cadau (1984-10-01) 1 October 1984 (age 34) 1 0 Sardinia Muravera v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
FW Emanuele Fini (2000-04-30) 30 April 2000 (age 19) 1 0 Sardinia Latte Dolce v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
FW Paolo Palmas (1993-08-04) 4 August 1993 (age 26) 1 0 Sardinia Latte Dolce v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019
FW Nicolò Sanna (1999-09-05) 5 September 1999 (age 19) 1 0 Italy Latina v. Flag of the Istrangios Sardinia.png Istrangios de Sardigna, 19 March 2019

Fixtures and results[edit]

This is a list of results for the matches played since 1990, including friendly matches against full FIFA international teams and others against fellow representative teams which are not aligned to FIFA and against professional or amateur clubs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Local selection of foreign amateur players in Sardinia
  2. ^ NSS Magazine (ed.). "The Sardinia National Team".
  3. ^ "England's Matches Unofficial 1946 onwards".
  4. ^ "Quel precedente della Nazionale Sarda". Federico Ventagliò. 26 January 2015.
  5. ^ FINS – Federatzione Isport Natzionale Sardu: #SardinianFootballHistory (Pagina ufficiale Facebook)
  6. ^ "Un posto per i quattro mori ai mondiali di calcio". Mario Carta. 10 December 2008.
  7. ^ "Nuoro ospita la Fins, catalani e sardi in un derby di futsal indipendentista".
  8. ^ "Nazionale Sardegna contro Cagliari: amichevole per gli alluvionati". Goal.com.
  9. ^ "Alluvione, nazionale sarda in campo contro la Corsica". La Nuova Sardegna.
  10. ^ "Sardinia joins CONIFA – and aims to build the Sardinian national football team". FINS-Sardigna.
  11. ^ "Bernardo Mereu è il CT della Nazionale Sarda". FINS-Sardigna.
  12. ^ "Natzionale sarda, 7 gol al debutto". Centotrentuno.com.
  13. ^ "La Natzionale Sarda rinvia la sua partecipazione ai tornei CONIFA" (in Italian). 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Lo Stemma". FINS Sardigna.
  15. ^ 5 giugno 1990: la "Nazionale" sarda sfida l'Inghilterra di Bobby Robson. SardegnaSport.com.
  16. ^ "La maglia della Sardegna La Nazionale di Mereu vestirà in biancoverde e rosso". Mauro Madeddu.
  17. ^ https://www.centotrentuno.com/news/natzionale-sardegna-corsica-cronaca-tabellino/

External links[edit]