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Kazakhstan 2015 Season Review. Part III

Kazakhstan 2015 Season Review. Part III
Kazakhstan national futsal team made a breakthrough by progressing into UEFA Futsal EURO finals (Photo credit: Takhir Sasykov)

Yuri Krasnozhan introduces amendments on international level, while Kazakhstan achieve its best result in the key futsal competition.

Developing under Krasnozhan

Kazakhstan national football team entered the EURO 2016 qualification with Yuri Krasnozhan at the helm as Russian manager have been appointed in 2014 to guide them through Group A battles. In his first international campaign, former Lokomotiv Moskva and Anzhi Makhachkala coach aimed an improvement for the team to wipe out disappointing memories about previous FIFA World Cup and European Championship preliminaries.

We might note parenthetically that Kazakhstan’s most successful qualifying campaign had came during Arno Pijpers’ spell in 2006-2007 (EURO 2008 qualifiers) when Dutch coach inspired his side to a series of brave performances. Some great results also were there with historical 2-1 win over Serbia and emphatic 2-2 draw against Belgium (which Kazakhstan claimed after being two goals down) sticking in supporters’ memory.

10-point tally that Kazakhstan chalked up back then remains as the side’s best outcome, and Krasnozhan couldn’t even get close to repeat it. Still, he had injected organisation, fighting standards, mentality and work ethics into the squad, positively influencing the stat record as Kazakhstan gradually developed during the EURO 2016 qualifying marathon.

The team alive and kicking 

After a woeful start to the tournament, Krasnozhan’s charges did better in 2015 matches, showing more defensive solidity, tactical discipline and character. Competing with the group’s big boys Netherlands, Czech Republic and Turkey was a mountain too high to climb but Kazakhstan were able to cause them problems, especially in an away 0-0 stalemate against group runners-up Iceland.

In the second half of the campaign, Kazakhstan haven’t lost a game with more than one-goal margin and were close to get points from Turkey at home and Czech Republic, who finished as group winners, on the road. First five encounters saw Kazakhstan steal just one point, scoring four goals and conceding 13. While in remaining five matches Krasnozhan’s men grabbed four points with three goals for and five allowed in what was an evident step forward in many areas on the pitch and gaining confidence.

Kazakhstan defenders (yellow) did well against group leaders Iceland to grab an away 0-0 draw
Kazakhstan defenders (yellow) did well against group favourites Iceland to grab an away 0-0 draw (Photo credit: news.cn)

The key rivals Kazakhstan had faced were Latvia national team whom they battled with the fifth place in the group standings at stake. A home 0-0 draw registered in Astana in 2014 was followed by a decisive 1-0 win in a tense underdogs sixpointer which took place in Riga on the final day of the tournament.

That meant Kazakhstan in the last moment left the bottom position in the table they sat on throughout the competition. Besides, Krasnozhan’s outfit helped Turkey to snatch their EURO 2016 finals berth as the best of nine third-placed teams of the qualifiers. 

When the hope is there

So, with some good signs there is a hope for Kazakhstan on further evolving into hard-to-beat, resilient European outfit who can not only punch above their weight on occasions but target big competitions participation in forthcoming years.

Meanwhile, futsal Kazakhstan national team have already fulfilled that goal, with Cacau’s men sealing their place at EURO 2016 finals in Serbia and making it with aplomb. After claiming second place in their group in the main qualifying round, Kazakhstan side were strong enough to ease past Bosnia and Herzegovina in the two-legged playoffs as both meetings ended with a convincing score, 4-0 and 5-0, in former Asia representatives’ favour. In February, Kazakhstan will make their debut in the final tournament with intention to keep making history.

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