Belarus came so very close to qualifying for the 2002 FIFA
World Cup Korea/Japan™. They finished third in their group, just
two points behind Ukraine, and only a narrow 1-0 defeat by Wales in
the final game denied them a place in the play-offs.
Belarus' notably strong performances saw them finish ahead of Norway, Wales and Armenia, while the 4-1 home victory over Poland, the latter's only defeat of the qualification campaign, caused a sensation. Man of the match Roman Vasilyuk scored four goals including a second-half hat-trick.
The Belarus Football Association was founded in 1989 and has been a FIFA member since 1992. The eastern Europeans finished their first FIFA World Cup qualification campaign for France 1998 bottom of their group with a solitary victory against Estonia and a draw with neighbouring Latvia.
After acquitting themselves well in the Korea/Japan 2002 qualifying campaign, they disappointed in their bids to reach the finals of UEFA EURO 2004 and Germany 2006, and then finished fourth behind Romania, Netherlands and Bulgaria in their seven-team qualification pool for EURO 2008.