Fans Take to Streets to Celebrate Armenia Soccer Win

Team Armenia after its victory against Slovakian (Getty Images)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Hundreds of people poured into Yerevan’s main Republic Square on Tuesday night to celebrate yet another impressive victory of Armenia’s national soccer team that gave it a real chance of qualifying for the 2012 European Football Championship.
Armenia crushed Slovakia 4-0 in the Slovak city of Zilina to earn its fourth victory in eight matches played in Group B of Euro 2012 qualifying over the past year. It was also the team’s most convincing and important away win to date.

Vartan Minasian, the team’s 37-year-old coach, hailed the “fantastic” performance of his players, mostly aged under 24, against a nominally stronger side that did well in last year’s World Cup. “I am very proud of my team,” Minasian said at a news conference.

The shock win moved up the Armenians to third place in the group standings with 14 points, three behind leaders Russia, who drew 0-0 with Ireland in Moscow earlier on Tuesday. Ireland, which is second on 15 points, will host Armenia in Dublin on October 11 for the final and possibly decisive game of the qualifying campaign.

Armenia already beat Slovakia 3-1 in Yerevan last October, an unexpected result that marked the beginning of its best-ever performance in Euro and World Cup qualifiers.

The victory sparked jubilant overnight scenes in the capital, with hundreds of fans converging on Republic Square to wave national flags, chant “Armenia!” and dance. Scores of cars honking their horns circled the sprawling square in the meantime.

“We believe that the team will win qualification,” said one young fan waving an Armenian flag.

The ecstatic crowd was reportedly joined and praised by Ruben Hayrapetian, chairman of the Armenian Football Federation, in the early hours of Wednesday.

“This impressive victory wasn’t sensational but the score was,” Slava Sargsian, a veteran football commentator, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

“It was a fantastic game,” agreed Senik Karapoghosian, another commentator. “In my view, the second half [of the Slovakia game] was the best 45 minutes of play in the [post-Soviet] history of Armenian football.”

The success will further heighten expectations from the national team ahead of its last two qualifiers. Armenia will play Macedonia in Yerevan on October 7.

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5 Comments

  1. Arman said:

    I’ve got an uncle in Slovakia, he must have been so thrilled about this. They don’t live far from Zilina.

  2. Koko said:

    Dear editor,
    its nice to see Asbarez providing some extensive coverage to the recent success of our national football team. Please keep it up and if possible extend your coverage to other sports and athletes so that our athletes can get the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately we do not get the live feeds/television coverage from the local US/Armenian TV channels for any of the sporting events that our great athletes take part in, so if there is any chance of Asbarez.com broadcasting some of those events………….it will be very much appreciated.

  3. Garo M. Tertzakian, M.D. said:

    I agree with Koko. Other positive things besides sports happening in Armenia should be covered more prominently in the local Armenian news media as well. A lot of energy is wasted on covering the constant bickering between politicians, corruption, poverty, emigration,etc. But there is also progress in Armenia that we should be informed about. A lady called me from Los Angeles recently to share with me her very positive experience as a patient in one of Yerevan’s hospitals where she received urgent care for a urological problem. Apparently her treating urologist knew me. She praised the professionalism of the doctors and nursing staff, the efficiency and the reasonable cost of the high quality of the medical care she received. The recent opening of the TUMO Center in Yerevan is another uplifitng example of progress in Armenia. Of course, we are all proud of the amazing achievements of our Armenian athletes in soccer, chess, wrestling and other disciplines.

    Rome was not built in one day and nor will Armenia. It will take time, economic development and political stabilty. In the meantime, we in the Diaspora should be patient, understanding and continue to do all we can to support our homeland’s march to democracy, stability and prosperity..

    • Garo Evran said:

      I love this beautiful game. As a x soccer player during 70’s & 80’s I would like to hear more soccer news from Asbarez about our national team & club level games, sports in general, news about our powerful boxers, weight lifters etc…. Good Day……

  4. ahmet said:

    while Armenia celebrates this win, Azerbaijan celebrates the discovery of a brand new, one of the largest gas sources in the Caspian Sea, which will finally end Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. I guess it’s time to play by Azerbaijani rules.

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