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Belarusian National Football Team

Belarusian National Football Team in the 2014 World Cup qualifying
Belarusian National Football Team in the 2014 World Cup qualifying

Founded: 1989
FIFA membership since: 1992
UEFA membership since: 1993
Member association: Belarusian Football Federation (BFF)
Best position in FIFA ranking: 36th (February 2011)
Home stadium: Dinamo, Minsk, Belarus (undergoing renovations, expected to be commissioned in 2018)
Maiden official match: Belarus 1-1 Ukraine (friendly in Minsk, Belarus, on 28 October 1992).
Biggest win ever: Belarus 5-0 Lithuania (friendly match in Minsk on 7 June 1998).
Biggest defeat ever: Austria 5-0 Belarus (UEFA Euro 2004 qualifier in Innsbruck, Austria, on 11 June 2003).

Milestones

Belarusian national football teamIn their first major international tournament, which was the 1996 UEFA Euro qualifying, Belarus were narrowly beaten 0-1 by Norway in Oslo in 1994. Further games against such sides as the Czech Republic and Norway did not bring any points either. However, the Belarusian football fans will never forget the day when Belarus registered a historic 1-0 success against the Netherlands at Dinamo in 1995.

Such decent start was marred by the World Cup 1998 and the Euro 2000 qualifications when Belarus collected the wooden spoon on both occasions scoring four and three points respectively. The highlight of the Euro 2000 qualification were Belarus’ two draws against Italy at home (0-0) and away (1-1).

World Cup 2002. Belarus vs Norway (2:1)Belarus showed the best ever result in top tournaments finishing in the third place in the World Cup 2002 qualifiers. Back than, Eduard Malofeyev’s Belarus appeared just behind Poland and Ukraine in their section. Belarus overpowered Wales, Norway and Armenia with the same score of 2-1 and hammered future group winners Poland 4-1 at Dinamo. Ukraine was the only team Belarus failed to defeat (1-1 away and 0-2 at home).

The 2004 UEFA Euro qualification was unlucky for Belarus again as they were pitted in one group with the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria and Moldova. Belarus collected their only three points of this campaign after a 2-1 home victory at Moldova in Minsk.

2006 World Cup. Belarus vs ItalyIn 2004-2005 Belarus’ start at the 2006 World Cup qualification gave hopes for a high group place. Belarus drew the away game against Norway 1-1 and blanked Moldova 5-0 in Minsk, which was followed by the 3-4 defeat at Italy. Despite the loss Belarus proved to the whole Europe that they are worth being respected. However, four consecutive defeats against Moldova, Italy, Scotland and Norway in late 2005 buried Belarus’ hopes for the third spot. Belarus finished that group stage fifth.

Bernd StangeThe qualifying campaign of the UEFA Euro 2008 was one of the most controversial in the history of the Belarusian football. It was the first time when the international specialist, Germany’s Bernd Stange, had taken over the Belarusian national team as a head coach. Starting his work with Belarus in 2007 he remained manager for four years. During the UEFA Euro 2008 qualification Belarus suffered four defeats at the hands of Romania and Bulgaria and, to make matters worse, endured a humiliating 0-1 defeat against semi-professional Luxembourg after a 90+5-minute against-the-run-of-play goal in Gomel, Belarus. However, the Belarusians recorded a solid 4-2 victory against Slovenia at Dinamo and won 4-2 against Albania away for the team’s biggest ever victory in the UEFA competitions.

UEFA Euro 2012. Belarus vs FranceThe most amazing is the fact that during the three qualifying campaigns (UEFA Euro 2008 along with World Cup 2010 and UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers) Belarus invariably came in 4th scoring the same 13 points on all three occasions. It has become a tradition that Belarus put up a solid performance against the weaker sides but do not manage to overpower top-class opponents. The highlight of the UEFA Euro 2012 campaign was the Belarusian historic 1-0 away triumph against France in Paris followed by the 1-1 home draw in the return.

2014 World Cup. Belarus vs GeorgiaIn the 2014 World Cup qualifying Belarus were drawn against world and European champions Spain along with France, Georgia and Finland. Belarus lost to Georgia in Tbilisi 0-1 and fell to France in Paris 1-3 with the Spain home encounter proving to be a 0-4 dismantling. The Georgia return match brought Belarus the first 2-0 group victory.

Belarus hoped to gain as many points as possible from two matches against Finland on 7 and 11 June. However, Georgy Kondratyev’s Belarus succumbed to a narrow 0-1 defeat in Finland’s capital Helsinki and escaped the loss in the return match in Gomel, Belarus, with a dramatic late 1-1 equalizer which secured one point out of six possible for the Belarusian national team.

In the final two fixtures of the World Cup qualification Belarus were to face the Group I favorites, France and Spain. On 10 September Belarus hosted the French side and put up a great performance being in front two times but eventually lost 2-4. The ultimate qualifier in Spain ended in a 1-2 defeat on 11 October. However, taking into account the difference in class between Belarus and their opponents, the two last meetings left a positive impression. Nevertheless, Belarus finished the qualifying campaign propping up the Group I table with only four points from eight matches.

The Belarusians finished the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying round fourth in their group. The disappointing start (a draw with Luxembourg and home defeats to Ukraine and Slovakia) spelled the end for Georgy Kondratyev at the post of the head coach of the national team. Alexander Khatskevich replaced him. The Belarusians took three victories under his tutelage, yet placing far away from the top three, which are Spain, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification started for Belarus with a draw against France at  Borisov Arena. Then again came a couple of defeats to the Netherlands and Sweden and a home draw with Luxembourg. The Belarusian Football Association decided to rescind the contract with Alexander Khatskevich in early December 2016. His successor has not been appointed yet.

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