For presenting Levadia's opponents tomorrow, we have a very appreciated friend and colleague, Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli. Writer at Repubblica, Gazzetta dello Sport and FourFourTwo, Emanuele speaks about football in his 'La Bottega del Calciofilo - Parole di Calcio'
Società Sportiva La Fiorita is a team from San Marino, the small Republic enclave in Italian territory.
Their domicile is in the castle of Montegiardino and their colors are yellow and blue.
Founded in 1967, La Fiorita won 3 San Marino championships.
The star of the team is, without any doubt, the striker Andy Selva, a real legend in San Marino football history. Born in 1976, he is the best scorer in the history of San Marino national team, with 8 goals in 65 matches; he scored the goal in the only match won by San Marino in all times, against Liechtenstein in 2004.
“We hoped to take an Andorra team for our first match in Champions League - smiles Andy – but Levadia is ok. Champions League is a very fascinating competition for us, so we have to play it with care, but without any fear”.
Andy Selva has a clear idea on which one is the La Fiorita’s task: “We want to succeed where a lot of our compatriot teams have failed: we want to pass the first round, even if we know that it will be very hard”.
Michele Della Valle is the Sports Director of the team and he speaks about Levadia: “It’s one of the most difficult teams we could have taken from the draw. They have a lot of experience in European matches, they are professional players and they are already playing in their domestic league. Surely they are on fit”.
The secret weapon of La Fiorita, a part from the goals of Andy Selva, is the break-back, as Della Valle says: “We will try to be as quicker as we can to overturn the action: it would be very difficult for us to impose our style of playing against an opponent so physically ready. We experienced that when the teams aren’t able to score a goal, all becomes easier for us and we gain space on the field to arrive to the opposite box. We want to score our first European goal. Of course passing the round would be a historic event, that lacks in San Marino football history; but even not losing in away match would be a unique endeavour”.
Andy Selva arrived to play in Italian Serie B with Sassuolo in 2008-09; with him at La Fiorita there is Simone Confalone, midfielder, that experienced even Serie A during his career, playing with Bologna. They are the most skilled players of the team.
La Fiorita plays basically two schemes.
The most used is 4-4-2 with Simone Montanari between the bars, the line of defence composed (from right to left) by Alberto Mazzola, Davide Bugli, Gianluca Bollini and Marco Angeletti. Left back Angeletti grew up in Lazio youth teams.
Midfield pivots on Alessio Cangini and Pietro Calzolari, with Francesco Ceci and Danolo Rinaldi on the wings.
The attack is on the shoulders of Any Selva and Giacomo Gualtieri. The other scheme is 4-1-4-1 with Filippo Pensalfini added in the midfield and Gualtieri on bench.
Streak in Europe
Their debut in European Cups took place in 2012, against Metalurgs Liepāja in Europa League: they lost 0-2 in the first match and 0-4 in the return against the Latvian squad.
The following year they lost in the same Cup against La Valetta.
by Emanuele Giulianelli
· The striker Giacomo Gualtieri became famous when he took part in a football reality TV broadcasted in Italy called “Campioni”.
· Aliaj Julian is the only foreign player (excluding Italian players) of the team: born in 1974 in Albania, he is also the assistant of the coach Nicola Berardi, born in 1969.
· The last San Marino championship won by La Fiorita, before the one of 2014, was in 1990.
· La Fiorita’s striker Andy Selva is very dangereous striker, he has scored in international level three times aganist Belgium. He has scored also to Austria, Bosnia, Liechtenstein, Slovakia and Wales. He is the all-time goal scorer for San Marino with 8 goals in 64 games.
· Sammarinese League is ranked by one of the weakest leagues in Europe, only Andorras league is weaker.
· Montegiardino is the boroug where S.P. La fiorita is based at. In that district 910 people live.