Belarusian footballers as yet without victories

The Belarusian squad arrived at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport directly from Tbilisi, having been beaten (0:1) in their first match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification. 
By Dmitry Baranovsky

They landed with mixed feelings, having suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Georgia and with a more serious rival ahead. However, the Belarusians beat the French in 2010, following an exact kick from Sergey Kislyak, causing a true sensation in European football. This time, the hero of the match was playing again, replacing injured Alexander Hleb. This time, Kislyak failed to repeat his success of two years ago; rather, other players were in the limelight.

Brazilian Renan Bressan has rapidly become a leader within the squad, despite having acquired a Belarusian passport only recently. Great hopes are pinned on him but the BATE Borisov forward played like a shadow of his usual self when faced with the French defence. He was substituted after the first half by ‘veteran’ Alexander Kulchy. The latter attempted a goal after four minutes, but without success. A minute later, Йtienne Capoue took a pass from Franck Ribйry and sent it home, reducing the hopes of the Belarusian national squad. BATE failed to create much danger near Loris’ goal, while the French again scored again 17 minutes later.

Nevertheless, Belarus eventually equalised, with Putilo taking a penalty kick at the end. Sadly, Kondratiev’s players were unable to do more, missing a third goal before the final whistle.

“At the start of the second half, we had two good opportunities but, unfortunately, failed to realise them. We then immediately let in a goal from Capoue,” mused Georgy Kondratiev, after the match. “Our players were concentrating hard, giving their all, but the individual talents of the French footballers guided the result of the match.”

After two matches, the Belarusian national team no points, taking fifth place in its group. Only the two best teams from the group will go to Brazil (the winner plus the squad ranked second — through play-off matches). An even more difficult match, against Spain, lies ahead for Belarus.
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