Estonia Faces Netherlands in Tallinn
The Dutch national football team will be in Estonia tonight for a 2014 World Cup qualifying match, with the hosts hoping to hang on to a theoretical chance of qualifying.
The Netherlands team leads the qualifying group with six wins out of six, including a 3-0 win over Estonia in March, but the local team is fancying its chances, after wasting good opportunities in March but twice managing to take the lead against the Dutch the last time the teams met in Estonia.
The head coach of Estonian club football champions Nõmme Kalju, Igor Prins, told ETV today that Dutch defenders are not the fastest and the likes of Henrik Ojamaa, Henri Anier and Sergei Zenjov will try to use their speed against the visitors.
National team head coach Tarmo Rüütli remains optimistic, saying that he has plenty of attacking arsenal at his disposal, but the defense will still need to hold.
Extra seating has been installed at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, where the game takes place, as tickets were sold out a while ago.
Estonia sits in fifth place, with six points from six games, in the group, just one point behind Turkey, which plays Andorra at home today.
Hungary, which faces Estonia at home next Tuesday, is second with 11 points, while Romania is third with 10 points.
Mathematically speaking, Estonia will need to win tonight's game and the rest of the three games with great margins, and the Netherlands would have to lose all of its games, for Estonia to qualify first in the group. Slightly less unlikely is the scenario that Estonia will battle to second place and reach the play-off round, which was the case two years ago at the European Championship qualifying rounds.
Those odds are quoted as 100 to 1, according to betting sites.
After Hungary, Estonia will host Turkey on October 11, traveling to Romania four days after that for the last qualifier.
The game begins at 21:30 local time and ERR News will add a live link here.
The home team's line-up for tonight's match is as follows:
1 Sergei Pareiko
17 Enar Jääger
15 Ragnar Klavan (captain)
5 Dmitri Kruglov
4 Raio Piiroja
7 Joel Lindpere
6 Aleksandr Dmitrijev
14 Konstantin Vassiljev
13 Martin Vunk
8 Henri Anier
11 Henrik Ojamaa
12 Mihkel Aksalu
22 Artur Kotenko
23 Taijo Teniste
20 Gert Kams
3 Mikk Reintam
18 Ats Purje
19 Siim Luts
16 Sergei Mošnikov
9 Tarmo Kink
21 Jarmo Ahjupera
10 Sergei Zenjov