Estonia will face Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Cyprus on the road to the 2018 football World Cup. The Estonian Football Association announced on the day of the draw that head coach Magnus Pehrsson's contract will be extended until the end of 2017, when the qualifying process ends.
Estonia was in the fourth strongest pot for the draw, the strongest position it has ever been in. But the group bears mixed feelings for Estonia, having traditionally fared bad against teams such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus, but beating Belgium in the last tournament the two teams met.
Belgium is the heavy favorite, currently third in world rankings. Bosnia is 26th, Greece 44th and Cyprus 85th. Estonia is on position 82.
The calender for the group H tournament is as follows:
September 6, 2016, Bosnia vs. Estonia
October 10, 2016, Estonia vs. Greece
November 13, 2016, Belgium vs. Estonia
March 25, 2017, Cyprus vs. Estonia
June 9, 2017, Estonia vs. Belgium
August 31, 2017, Greece vs. Estonia
September 3, 2017, Estonia vs. Cyprus
October 10, 2017, Estonia vs. Bosnia
Estonia will also face Russia in two friendlies on October 7, 2016 in Tallinn and a second game in Russia exactly a year later.
Pehrsson's contract extended
“The decision to extend the contract came after lengthy and thorough debate,” Estonian FA chief Aivar Pohlak said, adding that Pehrsson's commitment, level of professionalism and modern take on the game were the decisive factors.
Under Pehrsson, who took over from Tarmo Rüütli in 2013, Estonia has won seven, drawn four and lost seven.
Editor: J.M. Laats