Armenia boss says Wales favourites for Euro 2024 qualifier despite Cardiff upset
Armenia boss Oleksandr Petrakov insists Wales are favourites for Saturday’s vital Euro 2024 qualifier in Yerevan, despite humiliating Rob Page’s side five months ago.
Petrakov masterminded a sensational 4-2 victory in June that made a mockery of the world rankings and seriously damaged Wales’ hopes of automatic qualification for the finals in Germany next summer.
Wales have since bounced back with wins over Latvia and Croatia to put qualification in their own hands entering the final two games.
Armenia, three points behind Wales, also need to win their final two games in order to keep their Euro 2024 hopes alive and conclude their campaign in Croatia on Tuesday.
“We are not favourites,” Petrakov said at his pre-match conference, perhaps mindful that 95th-placed Armenia are 67 places below Wales in the FIFA rankings.
“It will be a totally different game to the one in Wales. History never repeats itself exactly.
“Even if we want it to, it doesn’t repeat itself. This will be a different game.”
The fact both teams must win suggests it could be an open contest.
But Petrakov downplayed that thought, saying: “I don’t think that it will be an open match.
“Both teams will be playing for a positive result, but I am not a predictor of what will happen. We will see.
“What I can say is that I’m not interested in the (recent) results of Wales national team. I’m more interested in the results of Armenia national team.”
Armenia have never qualified for a major tournament but appeared well set for a top-two place in Group D after back-to-back June victories.
They followed up beating Wales by overcoming Latvia at home.
But Armenia have since taken only one points from three games and lost 2-0 away to bottom-placed Latvia last time out.
Petrakov said: “I told the boys that with this game they can go down in history, they are playing under their own roof and have a chance to win a ticket to the European Championship.
“You have to fight for every centimetre, win the single combats, and the whole game.”
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