Estonia Loses in Penalty Shootout in Baltic Cup Semifinal (1)
The Estonian national football team will have to wait another two years to win the Baltic Cup, extending the losing streak to 76 years after losing to host Latvia on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
As an independent country, Estonia last won the Baltic Cup in 1938. This year Estonia traveled to the southern neighbors with a strong team and a new coach.
Estonia began well showing far more attacking intent than usual, perhaps catching Latvia off guard. But the hosts wrestled the game back after 20 minutes and held control until the final whistle.
The visitors seemed to have settled for Latvian dominance, trying, and succeeding in slowing down play and passing the ball between defenders rather than building up attacking moves. Both teams had chances, and both goalkeepers pulled off superb saves.
The Estonian national team had faced penalties twice before in history, losing both, to Finland and Thailand. This time it was no different as Martin Vunk's shot was saved and Karol Mets could only hit the post. Latvia scored all four of its penalties and will now face Lithuania in the final on Saturday.
Estonia will play against Finland for third place, also on Saturday.
Although playing well in some qualifying tournaments, Estonia has fared poorly in the Baltic Cup, coming third 11 times in the last 13 tournaments. Finland only joined the cup in 2012.
Latvia has won the cup 11 times, Lithuania 10 times and Estonia three times. The cup was held sporadically during the Soviet occupation, and prior to 1998 it was held every year. The Estonian SSR won four of the Soviet-era tournaments.