Vardan Minasyan replaced Artur Petrosyan and is appointed a new head coach of Armenian national team. Although national team spent a devastating qualification for World Cup 2018 with just 2 wins in 10 matches, fans seem to be more hopeful for Euro-2020 qualification.
Minasyan is the manager, who created the famous counter-attacking team that played fantastic qualifications for Euro-2012 and World Cup 2014.
Armenian, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan leading the team, were not considered underdogs in the groups, but managed to beat teams like Slovakia, Macedonia, Denmark, Bulgaria and Czech Republic.
Every Armenian fan remembers fantastic performances against Marek Hamsik’s Slovakia in Bratislava (0-4) and Christian Eriksen’s Denmark in Copenhagen (0-4). Vardan Minasyan’s team was a collection of strong individuals who even managed to draw with Italy in Naples (2-2).
This was the time, when many Armenian youngsters, including Henrikh Mkhitaran have shown their talents to move to stronger European leagues. Unfortunately, there was the Spanish referee Ituralde Gonzalez, who broke Armenian dreams, when mistakenly gave red card to goalkeeper Roman Berezowski during the crucial match in 2012 against Ireland.
Armenia could have reached play-off stage, if they won in Dublin, but were included in scandal match. Ireland, thereafter, met France and conceded goal after Thierry Henry’s handball to be given the same destiny as Vardan Minasyan’s side.
The creator of all these successes is back after 5 years. UEFA created Nations League to give underdog teams opportunity to reach Euro-2020 group stage and the appointment of Minasyan seems to make Armenian favourite in their group against Macedonia, Lichtenstein and Gibraltar.
Author: Hrayr Ghahriyan