Know your opponents: Belarus
The Indian men's national team will look to bounce back from the defeat against Bahrain when they face Belarus in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa, Bahrain on Saturday. This match will be crucial in preparation for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2023 third-round qualifiers as Belarus are part of the UEFA and will be India's first European opponent in a decade
Ahead of the all-important match, let us get a brief understanding of the opponents:
Controlled by the Football Federation of Belarus, the national team of the country played their first FIFA-recognized international friendly against Ukraine on 28 October 1992, and their first international win came in a match against Luxembourg on 12 October 1994.
Despite breaking into the top 40 in the rankings once, Belarus never managed to qualify for either the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship. Though there were some notable results during this period of 2006-2012, which included a high-scoring 3–4 away loss to eventual World Cup winner Italy in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers (the first time Italy conceded 3 goals in a home qualifying game since 1983), another home victory against the Netherlands during the Euro 2008 qualifiers as well as an away win and a home draw against France in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Currently, they ranked at the 94th spot as per the FIFA ranking. This will be Belarus’ first international match since last November and they would be urging to start their international friendlies campaign on a winning note.
Last 5 matches - WLLLL
The Belarus national team have won just one out of their last five matches, which was a 1-0 win over Jordan in a friendly. They faced a huge 5-1 defeat against Wales in the FIFA World Cup European Qualifiers and also lost the remaining three matches of qualifiers to the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Belgium.
This is the first time India will be facing Belarus in the sport of football.
Belarus secured the win against Jordan thanks to the solitary goal from Evgeniy Yablonskiy. The midfielder is a crucial player to their game plan. He currently plays for Aris Limassol and will be a threat to India during the international friendlies. His football skills make him a vital figure in the team. The 26-year-old has three goals in 18 caps for the national team too. His ability to contribute in both attack and defense will come in handy for Belarus when they come up against India.
Another player that will threaten Indian defense will be Vladislav Klimovich, who plays for Hungarian top-tier club, Gyirmot FC. He has won the Belarusian League twice with FC BATE Borisov. The attacking midfielder provided the assist for Yablonsky’s goal against Jordan in the recent friendly. His creativity will be a major asset for the team and India must keep him silent during the tie.
Fixture: Belarus vs India
Date: March 26, 2022
Time: 9:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Madinet Hamad stadium in Hamad Town, Bahrain