Russia to get new opponents for football friendlies – media
The Russian men’s national football team will play friendly matches in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan next month, according to reports. It was previously stated that Russia would face Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina next month, although those plans now appear uncertain.
Match TV reported on Thursday that Russia will travel to face Tajikistan, likely on November 17, followed by a trip to Uzbekistan three days later. The news has not been confirmed by the Russian Football Union (RFU), although the Tajik football authorities said that discussions about a match were underway.
It was indicated last month that Russia was planning friendly matches against Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina, both of which were due to be held in November.
However, no date or venue was confirmed for the match against Iran, who begin their 2022 World Cup campaign against England in Qatar on November 21. The Iranians also have a friendly match scheduled against Nicaragua on November 10.
Football officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed in September that they had reached an agreement “in principle” to play Russia at the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg on November 19.
Since then, prominent Bosnian players Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic have criticized plans for the match, as well as members of the Bosnian football association board.
The Bosnian FA has said it will make a final decision whether to go ahead with the match at a meeting planned for the end of October.
On a trip to Moscow in September, Bosnian Serb politician leader Milorad Dodik expressed his hope that the game would happen – sentiments which were echoed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bosnian football officials have faced outside pressure from the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) to scrap the match, even though as a friendly international it would be held outside UEFA and FIFA auspices.
Russian teams remain banned from all official FIFA and UEFA competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine.
That decision prevented the men’s national team from attempting to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, and will also rule them out of qualification for the 2024 European Championships in Germany.
Valeri Karpin’s team played their first match since last November when they took on Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek last month, earning a 2-1 win.