Russia will face Iran in first match outside of old Soviet Union borders since UEFA expulsion
Russia return to international football tonight as they face Iran in their first game outside of the old Soviet Union borders since UEFA expulsion after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
- Russia will play a friendly in Iran in the country’s capital of Tehran on Thursday
- They will then take on another Asian side in Iraq on home soil on Sunday in Sochi
Russia will play against Iran on Thursday in its first football match beyond the borders of the old Soviet Union since they were expelled from the World Cup following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russians, banned by UEFA from competing in Euro 2024, are set for the friendly in the Iranian capital before facing Iraq at home, on Sunday, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Last autumn, they played friendlies in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, both goalless draws, and in Kyrgyzstan, where they won 2-1. And have been invited to take part in the Central Asian FA Championships in June.
The Ukraine squad arrived in London this week to prepare for Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against England, at Wembley, and condemned those nations willing to engage in sporting competition with Russia while the military operations continues.
‘Those countries who play Russia, an aggressor, support Russian aggression and what Russia is doing to Ukraine,’ said Ukraine’s interim boss Ruslan Rotan, on Wednesday.
Russia were training at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Wednesday prior to the clash
The country have been banned by UEFA and will not be able to qualify for Euro 2024
‘We don’t have to think about those countries, we don’t have to pay attention to them. We have to ignore this. They are not worthy. We respect countries who respect national sovereignty and respect the right of countries to be independent. The bottom line is, forget Russia.’
Rotan thanked the UK population for its support since the invasion and the FA for handing out a thousand free Wembley tickets to Ukrainian refugees and their sponsor families.
‘You have been the friendliest people on earth towards Ukraine,’ said Rotan.
‘A game at Wembley is not only a game for the Ukrainian players or coaches, it is for the whole of Ukraine.
‘I want to express my gratitude for supporting Ukraine in our fight against the enemy. This game at Wembley will be first and foremost for our defenders, our warriors who protect Ukraine fight the deadly enemy.’
Supporters have been keen to see the national side train as they set sights on playing in Asia
Russia have been banned by UEFA since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year
The war in the region continues following a missile strike in Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday
Source of data and images: dailymail