It was a “shock” on November 28, 2019. Kazakhstan’s national football champion, FC Astana, beats the great Manchester United in a home game for the Europa League. How is that possible? Honesty requires to say that the English, already placed for the next round, travelled to Kazakhstan with their B-team, consisting of young promises. But still, tribute for FC Astana!
Is football the national sport of Kazakhstan? No, that honor is reserved for boxing, judo and wrestling. Football is popular, but considerably less than in Europe.
And why does Kazakhstan actually participate in the European competitions, after all, it is an Asian country? That’s right, for 89%. Because 11% of the surface, in the extreme northwest of the country, is indeed situated in Europe. Because it lies to the west of the Ural Mountains, the natural border between Europe and Asia. And apparently Kazakhstan has decided that the opportunities to improve in the much stronger European competitions outweigh the much greater chances of qualifying for a final tournament in Asia.