Last Friday, Armenia suffered one of the biggest shocks of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying when they lost 1-0 at home to Malta, who had not won a competitive away game in two decades. Four nights later Armenia caused another themselves as they stunned Denmark 4-0 in Copenhagen.
It seemed Armenia only had pride to play for, but within 30 seconds Yura Movsisyan had scored for the visitors and he was to add another in between goals from Aras Özbiliz and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The margin of victory took Armenia above Denmark on goal difference into fourth place in Group B, four points adrift of Bulgaria in second with four games to go.
Even their coach Vardan Minasyan was surprised. "Mentality is an important factor and that helped us to win today," he said. "The final score is a surprise but not the outcome of this game. We deserved this victory by playing attractive and disciplined football. There are no casual winners in football – even Malta's victory was not accidental."
Minasyan tinkered with his lineup and gave 20-year-old defender Varazdat Haroyan his international debut. "It was a huge responsibility," Haroyan said. "The opening minutes of both halves were hard. The Danes tried to level the score and get back into the game. We were clearly aware of what sort of team of Denmark are.
"Football is an unpredictable game, and defenders especially must not lose concentration until the final whistle. Such an approach and a good performance by our forwards brought the victory."
Another change was the redeployment of Valeri Aleksanyan at left-back, the full-back having previous been used on the centre or out right. "It was really hard at the start of the match," he said. "I had to adapt to a new role. My partners helped me to play well, there was always some cover.
"We were a really united team in this match. And when the goals come, you just have to defend well. We made Denmark change their game. They are a quick team, but after going down they started to play with lots of high balls. Yet this didn't help either. Of course I'm happy with this victory over a strong team. But I still can't forget our disaster against Malta."
Until FC Spartak Moskva front man Movsisyan made it 3-0 on 59 minutes, Armenia had their most-capped player, goalkeeper Roman Berezovski, to thank for preserving the lead. "A quick goal is always an important factor," he told UEFA.com. "And we managed to score twice in the first 20 minutes. When Movsisyan scored his second, the victory was really near. We had to work hard after that to keep a clean sheet, but I had no doubt we'd take three points."
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