Pierangelo Manzarini
San Marino coach Pierangelo Manzarini

The coach of European minnows San Marino hit out at England manager Roy Hodgson on Friday after he joked that his country’s cricketers were good enough to play against them.

San Marino, who are ranked 193rd in the world and have never won a competitive match, tackle England in Serravalle on Saturday, with the visitors needing victory to book a place at Euro 2016.

After watching England’s cricketers play football prior to the recent fifth Test match against Australia, Hodgson joked that there “might be a place or two available” in his team to play San Marino.

Asked for his response, San Marino coach Pierangelo Manzarini told his pre-match press conference via an interpreter: “I know Roy Hodgson very well.

“He’s a very good person, very well educated, but when you speak to the media, you have to pay attention, because although we’re much smaller than England, we deserve respect like every country.

“I think he was too heavy with what he said.”

San Marino are hoping to build on a 0-0 draw with Estonia in their previous home game, which was the first time they had avoided defeat in 60 home European Championship qualifying matches. – Agence France-Presse

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