Russian Valeri Karpin is experiencing a real ordeal as coach of his country. The exclusion of the Russian national team due to the military intervention in Ukraine put it in confrontation with teams from the ‘third world’ of football, such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan or Iraq.
In fact, Karpin never wanted to be a selector. He took office in July 2021 because there was no other candidate to take over that role after the resounding failure at Eurocopa.
What is more, had enough prisons to renew in the midst of conflict until 2024although it is already certain that Russia will not be able to play the European Championship in Germany.
Karpin, 54 years old, had a brilliant career as a footballer, mainly at Spartak, at Celta, where he was part of the historic eleven of the Galician club, and in the Russian national team. Meanwhile, as a coach, he led the Moscow team, Mallorca for less than a season and Rostov, a position he accumulates with the national team.
Good start with unhappy ending
Karpin started the qualifying round for the World Cup on the right foot and The Russians arrived at the last game with many options to directly win the passage to Qatar.
With all, an own goal in the final minutes of the last game against Croatia condemned them to the play-offs of the World Cup, which they never playeddue to UEFA sanction. Who knows what would have happened if the Russians had qualified directly for the World Cup.
The fact is that since then everything has gone from bad to worse. Russia did not play a competitive match from November 2021 to September 2022.
Faced with the difficulty of finding rivals -the Bosnian soccer players objected after the approval of their federation-, the Russians had to playing in places like Kyrgyzstan (1-2), Kyrgyzstan (0-0), Uzbekistan (0-0) and Iran (1-1).
The Russians couldn’t play a friendly at home until this Sunday in Saint Petersburgwhere they defeated modest Iraq with great difficulty (2-0).
Criticism of the Minister of Sports
Despite the complicated political situation, Karpin has been the target of not a little criticismvery for the bad results against unknown teams such as the bad game shown and the lack of a scheme and a fixed eleven.
Karpin hides behind the fact that now is the time when the test must be done, since the Selection needs to give opportunities to young promises like Sergei Pinyaev, which became sunday the Youngest debutant in the history of the Russian national team at just 18 years and four months.
The Lokomotiv striker not only set an all-time record, but he scored the second goal of the match, somewhat beautiful.
In the face of criticism, faithful to his style, Karpin rhetorically put the post at the disposal of the Russian Football Association during the pre-match press conference against Iraq.
These statements outraged the Minister of Sports, Oleg Matitsin, just when Russia is vying for participation in the Paris Olympics. “Expressing indifference in sport is a path that leads nowhere. That’s why you have to decide: are you with us, with the team, with the fans, with Russia, or go it alone,” he said.
Expressing indifference is a path that leads nowhere. So you have to decide: are you with us or go for free
Not everyone shared his criticisms, especially the sports press, but the damage was already done.
the military campaign
Karpin, like the vast majority of Russian internationals, never publicly supported the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Indeed, in the first months of fighting, he called for a speedy end to the conflict and the suffering of civilians in the neighboring country. Since then, he has preferred to remain silent, aware that there is no room for dissent with the Kremlin as coach.
He was also not very enthusiastic about the possibility of Russia leaving UEFA in favor of Asia, which is contested by most professional footballers and also by the sports press.
Although born in Estonia, Karpin only obtained this passport in 2003 and he always defended the colors of the Russian national team from 1992 to 2003.
Karpin’s future great admirer of spanish football, is closely related to the continuation of hostilities in Ukraine and the corresponding UEFA and FIFA sanction of Russian football.
If the Slav national team cannot compete in the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada due to the military campaign, Karpin’s ordeal may continue.