Armenia became a FIFA member in 1992, but the former Soviet nation has yet to qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ proper. The Havakakan’s qualification efforts under ex-coach Vardan Minasyan did not go unnoticed, however, particularly during the campaign for Brazil 2014, in which they recorded impressive victories at home to Bulgaria (2-1) and away to the Czech Republic (2-1) and to Denmark (4-0), as well as a surprising 2-2 draw in Italy. Despite these laudable results, the Armenians fell short of the Group B play-off spot by three points.
Traditionally tight at the back, the Armenians also boast a truly talented midfielder in the shape of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Their new coach is likely to rely heavily on the Borussia Dortmund man as he attempts to rebuild a team that has struggled in the wake of Minasyan’s departure at the tail end of 2013.
Sargis Hovsepyan was handed the reins of the national side on 29 April 2015. Having gained experience with Armenia’s U-21 team, he replaced Swiss coach Bernard Challandes, who brought his short-lived tenure to an end by resigning on 29 March following a 2-1 defeat by Albania in a UEFA 2016 qualifier.
132 – Sargis Hovsepyan, the new man in charge and a former defender, is the most-capped player in the history of Armenian football, having donned the red jersey no fewer than 132 times.
The former stars
Arthur Petrosyan, Vardan Minasyan, Harutyun Vardanyan