Kazakhstan played out their 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaigns in the Asian zone, before switching to the highly-competitive European section in 2002. The eastern Europeans ended their 2006 campaign with just a single point to their name, but improved four years later by beating Andorra twice in the preliminaries for South Africa 2010.
The current crop
Like many former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan have a long road ahead of them before they can dream of emulating the success of the former USSR’s national side. The emerging country is still finding its feet at international level, and has once again found the going tough in its UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying group. Defensive frailty has been their main issue, and is an area Kazakhstan will need to improve ahead of their Brazil 2014 qualifying push.
The key players
Midfielder Kazbek Geteriev has spent the best part of his career in Russia, and is the only member of the Kazakh team with extensive overseas experience. Goalkeeper David Loriya has made over 250 appearances in the Kazakh top flight, and provides much-needed experience at the back.
Coach: Miroslav Beranek
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Ruslan Baltiyev, Viktor Zubarev