Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan
, a country that gained independence in 1991. The national association takes part in all competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA at senior and youth level. Neftchi Baku used to be one of the leading teams in the top league in the Soviet Union, sometimes playing in European club competitions. The most famous player was Anatolii Banishevski, who was part of the Soviet Union team that reached the semi-finals in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. But another Azebaijani legend is also part of footballing history: Tofik Bakhramov was the linesman who played a crucial role in the 1966 Final, when uncertainty clouded England's third goal.