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All you need to know about Azerbaijan!
Around the Academy:

Drilling for oil in Azerbaijan
Oil-rich Azerbaijan is also known as the Land of Fires

A Group 9 draw against little-known Azerbaijan had Welsh football fans reaching for their atlases.

So what could the Academy unearth about Wales's opponents?

Where is Azerbaijan?
It's where east meets west.

Azerbaijan is on a sort of crossroads between Europe and Asia.

Some people maintain it's part of Asia. Others say it's in Europe - and this is the European Championships after all.

It is bordered by Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran, while to the east is the Caspian Sea.

It has a population of 8 million and the capital city is Baku.

What's the weather like?

Sun hat or souwester?

You'll probably need both.

Azerbaijan has no less than nine climatic zones.

From blazing sun to snowfall, you'll find it all here.

(A bit like Britain really!)

So, is footy the national sport?
Yes, although the Azeris also love wrestling and playing chess.

Many football fans in Azerbaijan support Turkish teams such as Galatasaray.

But here's our top AzerI football fact!

Azeri linesman Tofik Bakhramov went down in football folklore when he allowed the controversial goal that put England on their way to extra-time victory in the 1966 World Cup final against Germany at Wembley.

The Germans were furious when Bakhramov awarded Geoff Hurst a goal after the ball had hit the cross bar, bounced down onto the line and then out.

The Azeri linesman allowed a controversial goal that put England on the road to victory in the 1966 World Cup final
Was it a goal? The Azeri linesman thought so!

England went on to win 4-2.

It's still debated today whether the ball actually crossed the line and whether the goal should have been allowed to stand.

But Bakhramov is considered a hero in his native country and the national football stadium in Baku is named in his honour.

Other crazy Azeri facts!

1. Azerbaijan has been famous for its oil springs since ancient times.

2. In places, the earth is so saturated with gas and oil that flames often erupt from the ground.

That's why Azerbaijan is also known as the Land of Fires.

3. There is even a Temple of Fireworshippers, which is based in the village of Surakhany.

It was originally built thousands of years ago by followers of a Persian holy man.

Fire was an important symbol to them, and they built temples near to the burning oil and gas deposits.

4.Azzerri boys build bonfires in the streets and jump through them during Noruz, which is the Festival of Spring.

As they do so they make a wish.

5. Football was introduced to the Azeris by British oil workers. Back then they used fishing nets and trees for goals.

6. The Azeris also love to play chess and former world champion Gary Kasparov comes from there.

Gary Kasparov is one of the world's most famous chess players
Gary Kasparov is one of the world's most famous chess players

He won the Azerbaijan championships when he was just 12 and also took the USSR national title in the same year.

He won the world junior championships at 16 and became an international grand master at 17.

7. There are some 4,000 ancient drawings etched into the rocks at a place in Azerbaijan called Gobustan.

Depicting hunting and religious rituals, they are thought to have been created 12,000 years ago by ancestors of the Azeris.

The site is a top draw for archaeologists from all over the world.

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The Welsh test
Italian lowdown
Italian fab facts
Finnish lowdown
Finnish facts
Crazy Azeri facts
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro facts
Lowdown on Russia
Russian facts

Battle of the Brits
Northern Ireland

Did you know?
Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1991, when it became independent.
The main language is Azzerri, which is similar to Turkish. But Russian is widely spoken and taught in schools.

:: Football Association of Wales
:: Azeri Football Federation

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