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A country of contrasts.

AZERBAIJAN is a nation of Turkic Muslims and has been independent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is situated in south west Asia to the west of the Caspian Sea, which it borders between Iran and Russia. Baku - the city of winds - lies on the Apsheron Peninsula that juts into the Caspian Sea.

The peninsula is thought to be one of the most ecologically devastated places in the world.

Droughts are also a problem and, although average life expectancy at birth is 63 years old, for men it is only 58.

The population is just under 8m and 64pc are thought to live below the poverty line. The number one export is oil.

Azerbaijan was first introduced to football by British oil workers 100 years ago.

The most famous figure in Azeri football was linesman Tofig Baramov, who allowed Geoff Hurst's controversial second goal to stand in the 1966 World Cup Final.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2002
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