today 15:10 | “The last selection of the Italian,” wrote the Azerisport portal. As has been the case in recent months, everything that Gianni De Biasi, the 66-year-old coach of Azerbaijan, does is under fire. Results, nomination, match selection, tactics, substitutions… He wishes Calzon success, but only after today’s match. If De Biasi were to read Azerbaijani newspapers, he might go crazy. But he doesn’t read and he doesn’t hide from it. Now, criticism has not escaped the nomination with which Azerbaijan came to Trnava. Let us remind you that after the match in Slovakia, Azerbaijan plays against Kazakhstan on Sunday in the Dalga Arena in Baku. It is possible that his stay in the C-division of the League of Nations will be in play, which may not be a bad thing from the Slovaks’ point of view. However, the level of motivation of the players of the Azerbaijani national team and the Kazakh national team will already be revealed by today’s duels. WHERE IS GARAJEV? Gianni De Biasi nominated 26 players. “As usual, the selection of players raised a lot of questions, not without some oddities,” Azerisport reported. The media are surprised that the Italian did not call up Gara Garaev. Although the midfielder of Karabakh has been criticized many times by fans and journalists for sometimes not the best or weaker game… “but when he shows his true level, you can always feel it,” Azerisport reported. The fact is that 29-year-old Garajev, who has played 74 matches in the national team, is the leader of FK Karabakh and is in excellent form. The native of Horadiz has an iconic status among FK Karabach fans. He is a typical example of a player loyal to one club, he has not played for any other club, not even in the youth categories. He has been in the service of FK Karabach since 2008 and has played four hundred matches for them in the league alone. He was prominently seen in the matches of Karabakh in the group stage of the European League against the French FC Nantes (3:0) and the German SC Freiburg (1:2). He was one of the key players of the protege club in the qualifying rounds of the European Cups. AND WHY THESE? On the other hand, 27-year-old midfielder Elvin Džamalov is nominated. The media compares him with the absent Garayev, and of course, it’s like comparing Chopok with Mount Everest. Jamalov has no starts, goals, and achievements, so these comparisons come out poorly. The fact is that he is now playing excellently in the FK Sabah jersey. The media did not like the nomination of defenders Jalal Husejnov and Anton Krivociuk. The first is said to play poorly, the second – a native of Kyiv and half Ukrainian – practically does not play in Polish Wisla Plock, he played in two out of ten league matches. Rustam Ahmadzade is said not to dazzle, but he is in the national team. His club colleague Radim Sadikov is said to play better and is missing in it. A special topic is Mahir Emreli. The Dinamo Zagreb striker played 93 minutes in five starts in the Croatian HNL this season, but no one doubts him. The fans in Azerbaijan were pleased with the form of the 23-year-old striker Renat Dadašov. The native of Wiesbaden, Germany and player of Grasshopper Zürich was recognized in the Swiss league as the best player of the month in August. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ALBANIA? Gianni De Biasi achieved a huge success six years ago. The coach, who trained in many Italian (Modena, Vicenza, FC Turin, SPAL Ferrara, Cosenza, Udinese) and Spanish (Levante, Alaves) clubs, made it to Euro 2016 with Albania. It was the first and still only Albanian participation in a big football event, for which De Biasi was decorated with the highest state award directly from the hands of the Albanian president, Bujar Nishani. In Azerbaijan, they wanted the same thing. Not impossible, especially when the European Football Union (UEFA) came within the championships with a program of generous chances for teams from the lower levels of European football. What the Albanians managed, it also worked for the North Macedonians in the case of Euro 2020. However, not yet Azerbaijan. De Biasi became his coach on July 11, 2020, when he was supposed to agree on a two-year contract. Azerbaijan – Slovakia Source: TASR NO PATENT FOR SUCCESS The team failed to qualify for the 2022 WC. In the company of Serbia, Portugal and Ireland, it was probably not expected, but the only point and the last place in the group, even behind Luxembourg, angered the fans and the media. Poor offensive game as well, no wins. We were waiting for what the League of Nations would bring – the very key through which it is possible to advance to the championship. After a passive game and only a 20-minute hint of quality, Azerbaijan started with a loss in Kazakhstan (0:2). The media did not leave De Biasi a dry thread because he had a very confident rhetoric before the match. She was even underestimating, which came back as a boomerang to De Biasi in the form of the rhetoric of Kazakhstan coach Magomed Adiyev. An acceptable 0:0 draw with Belarus in Novi Sad followed, then a painful loss for Azerbaijan at home to Slovakia (0:1). It was only in the fourth game that a satisfactory result and victory was finally achieved – in Baku after goals by Emreli and Šejdayev, a win over Belarus (2:0). However, it turns out that De Biasi does not have a patent for success in the country of our opponent today. STILL ENOUGH CHANCES Azerbaijan has four points. Theoretically, he can become the winner of the group, but that would have to fit the classic, that De Biasi’s team will win everything – even with the appropriate score – and specifically Kazakhstan will not get a single point. At the same time, however, as we mentioned in the introduction, it can be the last in the group and fall a division lower, although Black Peter is still held most strongly by the Belarusians. It is said that De Biasi’s fate also depends on how it ends. “Of course, if the team gets a result, no one will particularly criticize the choice of the Italian. However, the probability of such a thing is extremely small. Under De Biasi, the national team’s game has degraded and there is no reason to believe that it will suddenly change now,” Azerisport reported. GREETINGS TO CALZON Gianni De Biasi opened yesterday’s pre-match press in Trnava in a sympathetic way. He greeted coach Francesco Calzona, the new head coach of Slovakia, from a distance. “I would like to say hello to my compatriot, who is the coach of Slovakia, and I wish him good luck, but only after our match,” Gianni De Biasi said with a smile. “The atmosphere in the team is excellent, everyone is looking forward to the match. I know how we played in the previous four games. I think we have been improving and I believe that we will perform even better now,” he testified. Even yesterday, Gara Garajev was taking over in Trnava. Again the question was asked why he is not with the team. The coach of Azerbaijan did not feel like dissecting the topic. “I don’t think that two matches solve anything in this regard. We will see in the future,” said Gianni De Biasi. Then he returned to today’s duel. “It will be a difficult match. I expect that Slovakia will have significant support. The details will decide. I know that we have a difficult match ahead of us and an opponent that has a compact team,” continued the Italian. AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE When we asked him if he and Francesco Calzono, thirteen years younger, knew each other well, he shook his head. “No, not that again. We are not close. However, I know his work very well. He was an assistant to Maurizio Sarri or Luciano Spalletti in Serie A, he is a good expert. I think he has a very interesting challenge ahead of him. I personally see it as a good opportunity. He has a lot of experience, he has a lot to offer. He has excellent players to work with. Škriniar, Lobotka, I could name others… You know, I have to say that Slovakia is a very unpleasant surprise for me in this competition. Well, a disaster… But that’s football too. Sometimes it is very difficult and complicated, sometimes everything does not go as it should in theory. Everything is simple for you, you write about football, everything seems easy and clear, but it is not so,” added the Italian from the bench of Azerbaijan with a smile. OPTIMIST MAHMUDOV Azerbaijan does not want to leave empty-handed. “I think we will surprise. But I can’t say more about it here. The coach ordered something for us, you will see on the day of the match. Everything depends on us. We have a quality team and I believe that we will succeed,” smiled Neftchi Baku midfielder Emin Mahmudov, who should start wearing the captain’s armband.
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