It seems the national team career of goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko could be over, after head coach Magnus Pehrsson omitted him from the 23-strong squad to face England and Switzerland in two weeks time, in the last two EURO 2016 qualifying games.
Pareiko, 38, said in the summer that this qualifying tournament would be his last. Pareiko has played 62 times for the national team, returning from a long career abroad to join FC Levadia this year. He first played for Estonia around 20 years ago.
“I spoke with him [Pehrrson] in the morning on the phone and told him I don't respect him anymore," Pareiko told Õhtuleht. "I have been toyed with in the last seven months. The coach lacked the courage to tell me strait that I am no longer considered. Had he told me earlier, I would have been disappointed for a few months, and then I would have understood that it was the right decision by the coach, but now...”
Pehrrson told the daily the coaching staff compared Mihkel Aksalu and Pareiko, and decided to go for the former. He said that a few weeks after that decision in training Pavel Londak also showed himself to be stronger than Pareiko. He added that Marko Meerits is the number three as the team is looking to the future.
Other notable players not in the team are Dmitri Kruglov, Frank Liivak, Albert Prosa (injury), Henri Anier (injury) and Igor Subbotin.
Estonia will travel to London to face England on October 9, with Switzerland visiting Tallinn three days later.
Estonia's chances of making third place, and a play-off spot, are minute at best, as the team will have to beat either England or Switzerland, both in the top 20 in the world, and hope that Slovenia, currently third, loses to both Lithuania and San Marino.
If Estonia fails to pick up any points in the next two weeks, it has to relie on Lithuania also losing both of its matches (against Slovenia and England). Estonia would then be fourth with 10 points, and Lithuania a place below with nine points.
The 23-strong team is (name, date of birth, football team, caps/goals scored):
Mihkel Aksalu (07/11/1984) – Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (FIN) 18/0
Pavel Londak (14/05/1980) – FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR) 24/0
Marko Meerits (26/04/1992) – FC Emmen (NED) 3/0
Nikita Baranov (19/08/1992) – FC Flora 0/0
Alo Bärengrub (12/02/1984) – Nõmme Kalju FC 48/0
Enar Jääger (18/11/1984) – Vålerenga Fotball (NOR) 115/0
Markus Jürgenson (09/09/1987) – FC Flora 5/0
Ken Kallaste (31/08/1988) – Nõmme Kalju FC 18/0
Gert Kams (25/05/1985) – FC Flora 39/2
Ragnar Klavan (30/10/1985) – FC Augsburg (GER) 105/3
Artur Pikk (05/03/1993) – FC Levadia 6/0
Taijo Teniste (31/01/1988) – Sogndal Fotball (NOR) 40/0
Midfield and attack:
Ilja Antonov (05/12/1992) – FC Levadia 19/0
Aleksandr Dmitrijev (18/02/1982) – FC Infonet 93/0
Maksim Gussev (20/07/1994) – FC Flora 1/0
Joel Lindpere (05/10/1981) – Nõmme Kalju FC 102/7
Siim Luts (12/03/1989) – FC Levadia 22/1
Karol Mets (16/05/1993) – Viking Stavanger (NOR) 19/0
Sander Puri (07/05/1988) – Sligo Rovers (IRL) 59/3
Ats Purje (03/08/1985) – Nõmme Kalju FC 52/7
Sergei Zenjov (20/04/1989) – Gabala FK (AZE) 46/9
Ingemar Teever (24/02/1983) – FC Levadia 30/4
Konstantin Vassiljev (16/08/1984) – Jagiellonia Białystok (POL) 81/20
Editor: J.M. Laats