Latvia bring Starkovs back for third term

"We need to perform so that our fans can be proud of us again," said Aleksandrs Starkovs as he embarked on a third spell as Latvia coach following the departure of Marians Pahars.

Latvia players lift coach Aleksandrs Starkovs after their UEFA EURO 2004 play-off success against Turkey
Latvia players lift coach Aleksandrs Starkovs after their UEFA EURO 2004 play-off success against Turkey ©Getty Images

Aleksandrs Starkovs has returned to take charge of Latvia for a third time, replacing his former national team forward Marians Pahars.

The 61-year-old Starkovs steered Latvia to the finals of UEFA EURO 2004 – the Baltic side's greatest achievement – and he enjoyed a second spell in the post from 2007 to 2013 following a stint with Spartak Moskva. His third coming begins with Latvia fifth in Group B of the European Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, two points ahead of Andorra, with European champions Portugal their next opponents on 9 June.

"It's a major honour to take charge of the national team once again," Starkovs said. "I know this is a huge responsibility, and some people will question my return, but I am very motivated and sure that all will go well. I have the experience and knowledge to strive for success with the team in every match. We need to perform so that our fans can be proud of us again."