Germany might have hammered San Marino 8-0 in Friday's World Cup qualifier, but the landlocked country surrounded by Italy has attempted to cut the world champions down to size in a post-match verbal spat between the two nations.
"Germany is not master of the world, they are champions in football," said Teodoro Lonfernini, San Marino's Secretary of State for Tourism and Sport, after German forward Thomas Muller had questioned the match's validity given the gap between the sides -- labeling the home side a "team of amateurs."
With Germany ranked second in the world by world governing body FIFA while San Marino is rated 201st out of 211 associations, Bayern Munich chief Rummenigge was also critical of the clash, saying it had "nothing to do with professional football."
But those comments have drawn a swift response from San Marino. Although its squad is largely composed of amateurs, as opposed to the Champions League regulars found in Germany's, Lonfernini called for an apology from the world champions.
"I expect a formal apology from the German Federation that we have hosted with great dignity," he said in a statement
carried by San Marino's national broadcaster.
To The Letter
The communications chief at the San Marino Football Federation has also weighed in, issuing an open 10-point letter to Muller rebutting his comments. These ranged from direct mockery to taunting as well as pointing out the benefits accrued from playing such a game.
"Our federation is building a new football pitch in a remote village called Acquaviva," Alan Gasperoni wrote
"You could build it with six months of your salary, we will do it with the rights of 90 minutes of a game. Not bad, right?"
That was one of the nicer lines.
"The match confirmed that you Germans will never change and that history has not taught you yet that 'high-handedness' is not always a guarantee of victory."
Germany might have won 8-0, but Muller -- who has yet to score in the Bundesliga with Bayern this season -- failed to find the back of the net despite having several chances.
"The match showed that even against poor teams like ours, you cannot score and don't say you weren't angry when (goalkeeper Aldo) Simoncini stopped you from scoring," vented Gasperoni.
There was more.
"The match made me realize that even if you may wear the most beautiful Adidas kits, underneath you're always the ones that put white socks under their sandals," the Sammarinese retorted.
Neither Mueller nor the German federation has responded to the statements made by either Lonfernini or Gasperoni.
Germany currently top Group C of European World Cup qualifying -- their 12 points from four games in direct contrast to San Marino's four straight losses.
Yet when San Marino were beaten by Norway in October, they did manage to score their first World Cup qualifying away goal in 15 goals -- only their third strike in all competitive internationals since 2008.
Three days after the win against one of football's weakest international teams, Germany met with one of the world's highest religious powers -- Pope Francis.
"It was the right decision to travel to Rome after the match in San Marino," said Germany coach Joachim Loew
"Having an audience with the Pope was very moving and impressed all of us. He touched each and every one of us with his words."
At least someone's comments have been well received on Germany's short European tour, with Loew's team next facing Italy in a friendly in Milan on Tuesday.