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The Uzbekistan national football team represents Uzbekistanmarker in international football competitions. It is controlled by the Uzbekistan Football Federation and is a member of the Asian Football Confederation.

After the split from the Soviet Unionmarker, they played their first match against Tajikistan on June 17, 1992. Uzbekistan have consistently been the strongest team out of the new Central Asian nations (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan). They won the Asian Games in 1994. Uzbekistan have never qualified to the final stages of the World Cup.

Overview

They were knocked out in the final stage of Asian qualification to the 2006 FIFA World Cup after losing on the away goals rule to Bahrain. The result was subject to controversy as actually three games were played; the first, a 1-0 win for Uzbekistan, was wiped out after FIFAmarker declared the result void after a mistake by Toshimitsu Yoshida, a Japanesemarker referee. The replay ended 1-1, and after the return finished 0-0, Uzbekistan were eliminated.

In the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, Uzbekistan was able to get past the group stage by beating Malaysia 5-0 and China 3-0. However, Uzbekistan was knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals stage by losing to Saudi Arabia 2-1.

Competition history

World Cup record



The strongest of the five former Soviet Republics to have joined the Asian Football Confederation, Uzbekistan will be keen to live up to the promise they showed in winning the 1994 Asian Games when they open their qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. They have a two-legged encounter against Chinese Taipei on 8 and 28 October.

The central Asian side delivered a shock by clinching gold in the 1994 tournament as debutants, but since then they have failed to make an impact on the continental stage. That was until they stormed into the last eight of the 2004 AFC Asian Cup, where they were only edged out by Bahrain after a penalty shoot-out.

That morale-boosting performance was followed by an even more sensational victory over Iraq in the second qualifying round for Germany 2006, with goals from Maksim Shatskikh and Alexander Geynrikh sending them through to the last eight. Pitted against the likes of Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic in the final qualifying round, they managed a third-placed finish that set up a play-off against Bahrain, who once again advanced at their expense.

After sticking with a foreign-coach policy over three years, which saw German coach Hans Jurgen Gede, Englishman Bob Houghton and Russian Vladimir Nepomniatchi at the helm, Uzbekistan have come full circle, turning to home-grown Rauf Inileev.

The former Uzbekistan Olympic team coach made radical changes to the team, keeping only eight veterans of the 2004 squad while injecting new blood in the shape of five Under-23 players. Despite missing a number of experienced figures, including influential former captain Mirdjalal Kasimov who retired last year, Inileev successfully moulded the new-look team into a strong squad.

Ace striker, Dynamo Kiev hotshot Maksim Shatskikh, is still in his goal-scoring prime and striking prodigy Geynrikh has come of age, developing into the team's lethal weapon particularly when sent on as a super-sub. In the central areas, Server Djeparov has taken over much of the creative duties since Kasimov retired while at the back young Aziz Ibragimov has quickly developed a solid defensive partnership alongside experienced Hayrulla Karimov and Aleksey Nikolaev.

In the qualifying series for the FIFA World Cup, however, Uzbekistan have been imperious, advancing to the fourth round of Asian qualifying after only four matches with a perfect record, including a 3-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia. Although the Saudis defeated them in the return encounter. In the past 3 rounds, Uzbekistan has managed to score 26 goals, so far it's the best result in World Cup Qualifiers.

In the final round of qualifying. Uzbekistan finished last in Group A behind favorites Australia and Japan, third place Bahrain and fourth place Qatar with 4 point from all their matches. In their first match, Uzbekistan was stunned by Qatar 3-0. Uzbekistan coach Rauf Inileev refused to blame his players choosing instead to congratulate the Qatari team. "They deserved to win today. They played better," he said. In their second match, Uzbekistan suffered another loss, this time to Australia. Scott Chipperfield scored for Australia in the 26th minute and boasted by a strong defense led by Lucas Neill "plunged Uzbekistan further into the FIFAmarker World Cup mire." Uzbekistan restored some credibility and their first point with an away draw against the highly fancied Japanese. With help from Brazilian legend Zico, Uzbekistan against the run of play scored a goal from striker Maksim Shatskikh sliding in to score from close range after 26 minutes. Japan equalised through striker Keiji Tamada, who bundled home Yoshito Okubo's pull-back five minutes before half-time. February 11, 2009, Uzbekistan played with Bahrain in Tashkent, and despite attacks through out 90 minutes, lost the match by a stunning last minute goal of Muhammad Abdurahman for Bahrain. On March 28th, Uzbekistan revived their hopes of qualifying to South Africa, winning their first match in WC 2010 qualifiers by crushing Qatar 4-0, thanks to hat-trick of Farhod Tadjiev and one goal from Anvarjon Soliev. The massive win puts Uzbekistan in third place in Group A with a tricky assignment against Australia on 1st April in Sydney. Unfortunately, Uzbekistan's hopes of direct qualification ended with a disappointing 2-0 loss to Australia. After a lacklustre first half, Uzbekistan conceded their first goal after a Josh Kennedy header in the 66th minute. To compound the misery, a clumsy challenge by Hayrulla Karimov on Richard Garcia gave Australia a penalty in the 73rd minute which Harry Kewell slotted in, all but ending the contest. Uzbekistan's 1-0 defeat to Bahrain ended Uzbekistan's qualification hopes and another agonizing campaign where they came close only to be pipped in the final round.

Asian Cup record



Uzbekistan squad

The following players were called up for friendly match against Iran on September 5 2009.

Caps and goals as of August 27, 2009.

vvv===Recent call-ups===

Olympic U-23 team

Most likely squad for 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China from November 11 to November 27, 2010.

See also



External links




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