Football in Uzbekistan
Football is the most popular sport in Uzbekistan, a country that gained independence in 1991. The national association takes part in all competitions organised by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation.
|Football in Uzbekistan|
|Governing body||Uzbekistan Football Federation|
|National team(s)||men's national team|
History of football in UzbekistanEdit
Football in Uzbekistan started to develop in the 1920s. In 1926, the first championship of the Uzbek SSR (i.e. Uzbek League) was held. Sbornaya Tashkenta and Sokol Tashkent were the most successful clubs in the competition. However the most successful club was FC Pakhtakor, the only football club from Uzbek SSR that played in the USSR Top League with 22 seasons. The Uzbekistan Football Federation was founded in 1946.
Berador Abduraimov is the most famous Uzbekistani footballer during the Soviet period. He played 358 matches for FC Pakhtakor, and was top goalscorer of the Soviet Top League in 1968 and also represented the Soviet Union.
|Andrei Piatnitski||Midfield|| USSR
In 1994, Uzbekistan Football Federation was reestablished and became a member of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation. In the same year, the Uzbekistan national football team won the Asian Games, at a time when the country was just finding its feet after gaining independence. But in 2003, the national association enjoyed more success: for the first time, the country's U-20 team qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2003, which was hosted by the UAE. Uzbekistan U-19 reached the semi-finals of AFC U-19 Championships twice in 2012 and 2014 and once qualified to the final in 2008 but defeated by UAE U-19. After the achievement in 2003, Uzbekistan U-20 has participated in FIFA U-20 World Cup three more times so far. In 2009 mundial the team finished its appearance in group stage. In 2013 World Cup in Turkey, U-20 team made play-off and in Round of 16 won Greece U-20 with 3:1, but lost in quarterfinal to France U-20 0:4. The team made an appearance in 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and qualified to quarterfinal, and defeated by Senegal U-20 with 0-1.
Uzbekistan U-16 won AFC U-16 Championship in 2012 and it was the second final which the team qualified. In 2010 AFC U-16 Championship U-16 lost to North Korea U-16 in the final match. Uzbekistan U-16 has qualified to FIFA U-17 World Cup twice in 2011 and 2013. In the debut year in the tournament the team finished its appearance in quarterfinal, defeated by Uruguay U-17. Uzbekistan U-16 was stopped by Honduras U-17 in round of 16 in 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
In 2018 Uzbekistan U-23 became the champions in AFC U-23 Championship hosted by China. The team defeated Vietnem U-23 in the final match with 2-1. The senior team's best achievement at the Asian Cup was a fourth-place finish at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
In 2007 Pakhtakor won 2007 CIS Cup by defeating FK Ventspils, from Latvia, with 9-8 on penalties. The next season of CIS Cup Pakhtakor reached the final of the competition for the back-to-back second time but lost to Khazar Lenkoran. The team is also perennial competitor in the AFC Champions League, having reached the semi-finals of the competition twice in 2003 and 2004. Pakhtakor currently holds record in number of consecutive participation in AFC Champions League, participating from 2002 to 2013
Notable Uzbekistani footballers since independence from the Soviet Union include Server Djeparov (2008 Asian Footballer of the year), Igor Shkvyrin (top goal scorer of the 1994 Asian Games), Mirjalol Qosimov and Maksim Shatskikh.
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