By Yuri Karpenko
Belarus is in Group 7, with Romania and Luxembourg. It is yet to be seen whether number seven will turn out to be lucky for Yuri Shevtsov and his trainees.
The finals of the World Championship are to be held in January 2013. For Belarus to participate, it needs to go through the initial stage and the play-off round, to be held next June. The previous qualification round was a complete failure for the Belarusian squad, as they lost in the first round of their first official tournament, to Cyprus and Switzerland, making it their last! However, fate has been kind to the Belarusian players, giving them the chance to show improvement in a match against Switzerland on the way to Euro-2012. The team managed to defeat their rival but still failed to reach the European forum finals.
The qualification rounds for the World Championship are to be held under a new format, hosted not just by one city over three days (as has been traditional) but across several locations from November to January. Following the draw, a calendar of the dates has been approved, based on the results of teams’ seeding. The strongest are to play a home match with their nearest rival (e.g. Romania with Belarus).
Just last year, Belarus beat Romania in two friendly matches in Brest but lost in Karpaty Trophy in their away match. However, it was a ‘purely’ Belarusian team, with no foreign players.