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Starkovs prepared to step down as head coach of Latvian football team

Aleksandrs Starkovs. Photo: LETA.
RIGA, April 2 (LETA) - The head coach of the Latvian national football team, Aleksandrs Starkovs, is prepared to step down if this is in the best interests of the national team, according to the weekly sports magazine ''Sporta Avize''.

However, the Latvian Football Federation does not wish for "this to become a mess, and will evaluate its options without haste."

Starkovs, who is under contract until the end of the current World Cup qualification campaign, took over as the head coach of the Latvian team for the second time in 2007.

Talk about his dismissal have been circulating since March 22, when Latvia played a 1:1 draw at Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier.

In a discussion with Latvian Football Federation general secretary Janis Mezeckis, Starkovs had expressed the willingness to step down, as he completely takes all responsibility for the poor performance of the national team. Meanwhile, the federation believes that now is not the best time to rush into decisions regarding the coaching staff.

As reported, at the moment, Latvia is ranked 108th in the FIFA rankings, while Liechtenstein is ranked 157th.

Right now in Group G, Bosnia & Herzegovina is in first place with 13 points, followed by Greece (10 points), Slovakia (8 points), Lithuania (5 points), Latvia (4 points) and Liechtenstein (1 point).

Latvia will play its next World Cup qualifier on June 7 at home against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The qualification tournament itself will last until October 15, 2013. The winner of the nine European qualification groups will automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup, while the second place finishers will play in an additional playoff round.
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