Verpakovskis to hang up cleats

  • 2013-10-18
  • From wire reports

After Latvia concluded its World Cup 2014 qualification campaign on Oct. 15, the all-time leading goal scorer for the Latvian national football team, Maris Verpakovskis, said that he will not play in the EURO 2016 qualification campaign, which means that he has most likely called an end to his national team career.

The Latvian national football team played for pride in its final World Cup 2014 qualifying game on Oct. 15 in Skonto Stadium, showing good effort in tying Slovakia 2:2. Latvia took to the field knowing that even with a win, it could place no higher than 5th in the standings, ahead of only Liechtenstein.

The match was the 102nd Verpakovskis has played for the Latvian national football team. He has scored 29 goals for Latvia in his national team career. The forward said that he intends to play in November’s friendly match, and that this will most likely be his final international match for Latvia.

“I think my time with the national team has come to an end, and that this was my final qualification campaign. I am very sure about this,” Verpakovskis told members of the press after the match. “I will still talk this over with the coaching staff, but I do not believe I will change my mind about this.”

Verpakovskis is playing for Greek top division football club Ergotelis this season.
“We will see how my club career continues to develop,” the 34-year-old Verpakovskis said. “If my health remains good and I am presented with a good offer, I would like to continue playing. If not, I might end my club career as well. I am under contract until next summer. We will see how the season goes, and after that I will make a decision.”

Verpakovskis became Latvia’s all-time leading goal scorer in 2009 against Luxembourg, when he scored his 25th goal for the national team. At the same time, Verpakovskis last month became only the seventh player to play 100 games or more for the national team. The record is currently held by Vitalijs Astafjevs, at 167 matches.

In his club career, Verpakovskis has played for such clubs as Ukrainian giants Kiev Dinamo, Croatian football club Hajduk, and Spanish football clubs Celta and Getafe. He began his career with Latvian football club Liepajas metalurgs.