Armenian national team faces setback during World Cup qualification


Armenia has suffered its first major setback in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament.

After winning its first three matches in the spring, head coach Joaquin Caparros’ squad went winless in its next three games earlier this month.

On September 2, Armenia played to a scoreless draw on the road against North Macedonia. Then, they suffered a gruesome 6-0 loss to powerhouse Germany a few days later in Stuttgart. Armenia hoped they would get a win at home in Yerevan against Liechtenstein, which is ranked 189th in the world by FIFA, but that didn’t go according to plan either. 

After holding a 1-0 lead for much of the match, Armenia surrendered a goal with 10 minutes to go and had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 draw that left the crowd at Hanrapetakan Stadium shocked and silent.

The results were surprising because Armenia hoped the addition of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who missed the first three games due to injury, combined with similar performances from the remaining squad would produce fruitful results. Mkhitaryan was the lone goal scorer in the last three games for Armenia, but otherwise was relatively ineffective for his standards. 

“Our team consists of guys who compete at the highest level and are worthy men,” midfielder Khoren Bayramyan said after the loss to Germany. “We competed in a difficult challenge and we found out what we are lacking.”

After the setback, Armenia now sits in second place in Group J behind Germany with four more games to go in the qualification tournament. First place in the group automatically qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar next fall, while second place goes into a play-off for a second chance to qualify. 

“I know that we have to treat each game like it’s the last one now,” Caparros told reporters after the draw against Liechtenstein. “But I know we can fight hard and finish with a good result.”

Armenia’s next two matches will come next month on October 8 and 11 when they travel to Iceland and Romania, respectively. The Armenians defeated both squads earlier in the tournament in Yerevan. They will need similar results to keep pace with Germany and hold on to second place. 

 

Andre Khatchaturian
Andre Khatchaturian is a digital content producer at the New England Sports Network (NESN). At NESN, he has produced written and video content related to the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, combat sports and other trending national sports news. He has also produced content on location at two Super Bowls, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Playoffs and dozens of UFC fights. Andre is from Glendale, California and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He moved to Boston in 2013, where he attended Boston University and graduated with a master's degree in broadcast journalism.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*