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Pros and cons of the national team – ANALYTICS – 2024-04-03 00:28:35

2024-04-03 00:28:35

The “FIFA series – Edition 2024” project, organized by FIFA for the first time in Baku, has ended.

According to İ, in the second match the Azerbaijani team met with Bulgaria.

During the match, our team showed determination, fought to the end and equalized the score in the last minutes. Musa Gurbanli scored the decisive goal three minutes before the end – 1:1.

First serious test

The meeting with Bulgaria can be considered the first serious test of the Azerbaijani national team in 2024. True, this was the team’s second game. However, it is difficult to take the match with Mongolia seriously. In any case, meeting with an opponent who is “crawling” at the end of the second hundred of the FIFA rankings is not enough to assess the strength of our team. Moreover, after a match with a representative of Asian football, as well as a weak team that defended almost to the goal for 90 minutes, our team was in for a real test. This was felt in the starting lineup of Arif Asadov, the acting head coach. Leading team members Shakhruddin Magomedaliev, Toral Bayramov, Eddie Israfilov, Rakhil Mamedov were returned to the main team. The team started with a more optimal starting line-up, close to what we are used to from the EURO 2024 qualifiers.

Weak, but European football

Of course, the Bulgarian national team is going through one of the weakest periods in its history. This regression has been going on for a long time. The opponent’s fiasco at the EURO 2024 qualifying stage is proof of this. The Bulgarians, who finished last in their group after Lithuania, which cannot be considered a football country, completed the cycle without victories. But despite this, a meeting with Bulgaria means a duel with a European representative. Moreover, in any case, our opponent ranks 83rd in the FIFA rankings, 30 positions ahead of our team. The presence of players playing in different European countries also indicates the strength of the opponent.


It’s no secret how beneficial friendly games are in March. These matches are preparation for the final stage, which will take place in the summer for the big teams and in the fall for the rest. From the point of view of preparation, these meetings are also important for the Azerbaijani national team, which will begin competing in the League of Nations in September. Of course, compared to the match with Mongolia, the exam against Bulgaria should be more useful in this regard. Moreover, not losing to a stronger opponent also brings additional points to the FIFA rankings and increases the players’ confidence in their abilities. The start of 2024 with two unbeaten matches gives more or less reason to think optimistically and instill hope in the fans.

Fight to the end

Not only the result, but also the performance of the national team creates a positive opinion. In a meeting with the Bulgarians, who play in stronger leagues and well-known clubs, our team, superior in almost all components, made only a pleasant impression. The superiority recorded in ball possession and the number of shots shows that the team was only behind the opponent in the score. Our team could even win. Since it was a friendly match, one cannot be upset that such an advantage was not reflected in the result. In any case, there were enough bright moments in the March matches. One of them was the late goals scored in both matches. Fighting until the last seconds, our team was happy with the victory in the game with Mongolia and a draw in the match with Bulgaria. This gives fans a reason to believe in the team until the end, to expect a goal from the team until the final whistle.

One chance left

Of course, the negative side of the March games is not overlooked. The biggest problem is the uncertainty regarding the head coach. Because the main goal is to prepare the team for the Nations League. If Arif Asadov led the team in these matches, then it is unclear who will be in this position in the fall. It would be better if this specialist were identified in advance and led the national team in the matches that took place in the last days. But it is possible that Asadov will remain in his post, and if this happens, then the benefits of friendly matches in March can be seen. Otherwise, the new head coach will have only one chance to prepare for more serious challenges. This is the June window for friendly matches. So far, one match has been agreed upon at this time – a meeting with Albania. Another contender is expected to be found. In any case, the new coach will have one training camp and one chance.

Vugar Khairullaev


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