Russia faces Iran in Tehran in their first soccer match outside the former Soviet Union since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with the nation banned by UEFA from participating in Euro 2024 qualifiers.
- Russia was welcomed by Iran in an international friendly in Tehran on Thursday.
- The nation is banned from Euro 2024 by UEFA after the invasion of Ukraine
- Russia was kicked out of last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar amid the invasion
Russia has returned to international football playing a friendly against Iran in Tehran.
The match marks Russia’s first outside the borders of the former Soviet Union since President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia was expelled from last year’s FIFA World Cup following the invasion, with governing body FIFA and UEFA suspending the nation’s membership.
The ongoing sanction has ruled out Russia from competing in the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, which begins on Thursday night.
Published photos of the match have largely focused on the Iranian women present in the crowd. The focus on women comes amid widespread anti-government protests in the country.
Russia played against Iran in a friendly in Tehran that marks the return to international football
Russia can’t participate in Euro 2024 qualifiers after the country’s invasion of Ukraine
The match is Russia’s first against a nation outside the former Soviet Union since the war began.
Protests began in Iran in September following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old had reportedly been detained for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.
death of amini tRigged demonstrations across the country that posed one of the most difficult challenges for the regime.
Iran has also come under pressure in recent years from FIFA to allow women to attend matches. Fans were allowed to attend a national championship game for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution last August.
Russia has played countries from the former Soviet Union since the invasion of Ukraine.
Last autumn, Russia played friendlies in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, both to a goalless draw, and in Kyrgyzstan, where they won 2-1.
Russia is prepared to welcome Iraq home on Sunday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
They have also been invited to participate in the Central Asian FA Championship in June.
The Russian Football Federation discussed the possibility of switching from UEFA to the Asian Football Confederation in December.
Ukraine’s interim coach Ruslan Rotan has criticized nations playing Russia.
Photos of the match have largely focused on Iranian women in attendance.
Iran’s organization of the match has been criticized by the coach of the Ukraine national team.
“Those countries that play Russia, an aggressor, support Russian aggression and what Russia is doing to Ukraine,” Rotan said.
‘We don’t have to think about those countries, we don’t have to pay attention to them. We have to ignore this. They are not worthy. We respect countries that respect national sovereignty and we respect the right of countries to be independent. The bottom line is, forget about Russia.
The Ukraine team arrived in London this week to prepare for Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against England.
Rotan thanked the people of the UK for their support since the invasion and the FA for handing out 1,000 free Wembley tickets to Ukrainian refugees and their sponsoring families.