Meanwhile, Emin Makhmudov of Krylya Sovetov done u-turn after failing to get his place in Russia and now wants back to our NT. So he is likely to be called for our NT in this campaign.
However, Tuğrul Erat of Fortuna Dusseldorf is the man to watch. He is been very influential and crucial for our U-21. The kid is in terrific shape, just check his goal yesterday against Union Berlin. Pure quality.
It is a tough group. I'm not expecting much, but if we can get 6 from Malta, 3 from Bulgaria/Norway, and 1 from Croatia, then I would call it successful.
First game is at home against Bulgaria. We need at least a point here, because after that we play Croatia and Italy, and Malta only until March. The top 2 spots seem guaranteed by Cro/Ita, but 3rd place is up for grabs. Norway/Bulgaria based on previous qualifiers are tough but also very vulnerable, if anything, Malta will be the banana slip for the group.
How come you guys lag in football? I'd expect Azerbaijan to be one of those small great footballing nations. How's the progress coming?
There's improvement, but its very slow. Past 3 qualifiers we improved slightly each time from 5pts, to 7, and last time we got 9, finished 4th. If we keep building the same team and improving from last campaign then we will be a tough team to beat in this group. Only Portugal had success against us in the last qualifiers, we held our own against Israel, NI, and Russia.
We are essentially starting football from scratch, the league, infrastracture, and organization have been slowly developing since about 5-6 years ago. We had money to invest before that, but it lacked serious organization and professionalism (still does somewhat). Now our big clubs Neftchi, Baki, Gabala, and Qarabag have seriously got involved in the "off the field" aspects of the game (youth,stadiums,system). Hopefully in the next 10 years we can have consistency with our clubs and national team, at least be on the level of a mid-tier teams like Slovakia, Hungary, Norway.
Games with Bulgaria is key for us. If we can screw them hard, then we will have quiet interesting games
Bulgaria have a very good team man. Though I've been aware of Azerbaijan getting some decent results lately, notably the draw against Russia. I don't know much about the Azeri team but my bet would be on Bulgaria, they caused big problems for teams like Italy in the last qualifiers, they are very solid. But good luck to both sides and may the best team(s) win.
If you can get 4+ points in the games against Norway and Bulgaria, and the 6 points against Malta, you should have a good chance of qualifying or at least getting to the playoffs. But those are tricky match-ups and should be wary. Will be interesting to see how it plays it out as the fight for the third spot in this group could be tight. Italy and Croatia will get first and second place respectively, hands-down.
forestasuceava: you prostitute yourself? me: for the national team.. I would
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