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Latvia

Latvia
Germany No1 Oliver Kahn shakes hands with Latvia's Aleksandrs Koliņko at UEFA EURO 2004 ©Getty Images

Latvia

Best result: group stage 2004
Coach:
Marians Pahars
Leading scorers:
all time – Māris Verpakovskis (29); current – Juris Laizāns (15)
Most appearances:
all time – Vitālijs Astafjevs (167); current – Juris Laizāns (113)
Association formed:
1912
Nickname:
None
Where they play:
Skonto Stadium, Riga

Latvia's qualification for UEFA EURO 2004, when they defeated Turkey in a play-off after finishing group runners-up to Sweden, was one of the major upsets of the UEFA European Championship's modern era. A draw with Germany in Portugal added to the team's lustre, but that remains an isolated success. Third in their 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying group was no mean feat, but a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2014 World Cup qualification meant that Aleksandrs Starkovs, the architect of that 2004 success, ended his second spell in charge on a disappointing note.

EURO pedigree
Matches played

Overall: P55 W20 D9 L26 F62 A74
Final tournament: P3 W0 D1 L2 F1 A5
Qualifying: P52 W20 D8 L24 F61 A69

Latvia's breakthrough on the international scene came when Starkovs' side qualified for UEFA EURO 2004, the country's first major tournament. They registered wins in Poland and Sweden en route to a play-off against Turkey, who they defeated 1-0 at home before recovering from 2-0 down to draw the second leg 2-2 in Istanbul. The Baltic nation, who made their EURO debut in the qualifying competition for EURO '96, did not embarrass themselves in Portugal, ultimately eliminating Germany.

Starkovs' team were unable to reach those heights in qualification for UEFA EURO 2008, losing eight of their 12 games as they ended well off the pace in fifth in their seven-team section. Indeed, Latvia have finished fourth or fifth every campaign bar UEFA EURO 2004. Last time round it was fourth, but only after a strong conclusion that brought seven points from their last four fixtures.

Memorable EURO matches
19/06/04: Latvia 0-0 Germany, 2004 UEFA European Championship group stage
A stoic defence inspired Latvia to their most famous draw; Māris Verpakovskis almost won it.

19/11/03: Turkey 2-2 Latvia, UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying play-offs
Two down with 26 minutes left, goals from Juris Laizāns and Verpakovskis silenced the home fans.

15/11/03: Latvia 1-0 Turkey, UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying play-offs
Verpakovskis' solo goal in freezing conditions made a nation believe in the impossible.

Did you know?
Current Latvia assistant coach Vitālijs Astafjevs won a European record 167 caps in an 18-year career that spanned from 1992 to 2010.

*Last updated on 07/01/14

Last updated: 28/01/14 15.35CET

http://www.uefa.com/teamsandplayers/teams/teama/team=56558/profile/index.html#latvia

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    07/10/2006, Latvia 4-0 Iceland, Riga
  • Biggest defeat:
    29/03/1995, Austria 5-0 Latvia, Salzburg
  • Appearances in UEFA European Football Championship: 6
  • Player with most appearances: 43
    Vitālijs Astafjevs (LVA)
  • Top scorers: 14
    Māris Verpakovskis (LVA)
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