Azerbaijan have never reached a FIFA World Cup™ finals and finished bottom of their qualifying groups for the 2002 and 2006 editions. Slight progress was nonetheless made ahead of South Africa 2010 as they beat Liechtenstein 2-0 to finish above their fellow minnows.
The current crop
Still a young nation, Azerbaijan are yet to find their feet on the international stage, but they have added consistency and solidity to their game since the 2008 appointment of Berti Vogts, the experienced coach boasting UEFA EURO 1996 glory with his native Germany on his CV. No strangers to stout defensive performances and able to frustrate sides both home and away, Azerbaijan now hope to develop more of an attacking threat – an area they will need to improve quickly on the road to Brazil 2014.
The key players
A national team stalwart since 2001, captain and defender Rashad Sadygov has experience of the Turkish league, and it was he who scored the historic goal that gave Azerbaijan victory against Turkey in EURO 2012 qualifying.