Estonia Once Again Completes the UEFA Cycle
Estonia’s 2-0 victory Wednesday night over Gibraltar was a notable European first. The national football team became the first ever to play a professional-level match against all 53 fellow members of the UEFA.
The country completed that feat back on June 5, 2012, when it faced France for the first time. A 4-1 loss seemingly completed the cycle. That seemingly completed the cycle. But Gibraltar formed its own international squad last year following a 14-year court battle with Spain to have its team independently recognized. That decision lead to the first meeting between the clubs in Victoria Stadium.
"After Gibraltar joined UEFA, we again had one member missing," said Estonian Football Association president Aivar Pohlak told UEFA.com. "We were quick to agree to two friendlies with them for 2014. We want to be, and have been, a very active football country. Our vision includes playing as many matches as possible with the national team. It was not our initial intention to set this record, but after acting according to our principles and values we discovered after many years that we were just a couple of countries short."
On Wednesday, midfielder Dmitri Kruglov scored his fourth international goal for Estonia in the 11th minute. It was his 92nd international match, moving him out of a tie with Ragnar Klavan for the 11th-most caps in team history. Rimo Hunt added insurance in the 81st; his first score in five international games.
Gibraltar will play Estonia in Tallinn on May 26.
In the upcoming EUFA Euro 2016 qualifier, Estonia will match up against England, Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania and San Marino. The team achieved a historic first in the EURO 2012 qualifiers, reaching the playoffs before losing to the Republic of Ireland.
Estonia will play England, Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania and San Marino in the upcoming UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers. They achieved a new best in the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers, reaching a playoff but losing to the Republic of Ireland by a 5-1 aggregate score.