Qualification hopes still (faintly) alive after San Marino win


The Estonian national football team beat minnows San Marino in Tallinn 2-0 on Sunday evening, with the other results in the group also going Estonia's way to keep hopes of a third-place finish, and play-offs, alive.

Sergei Zenjov delivered against San Marino, which was officially the worst team in the world before ending a 61-game run of only defeats by drawing against Estonia 0-0 last year. Zenjov scored on the 35th and 63rd minute.

The margin could have been even wider, had it not been for Zenjov's rather spectacular miss on the 53rd minute.

For head coach Magnus Pehrsson, the success of the next few matches could lead to a contract extension. His contract is up after the qualifying round for the 2016 European Championships. Football Association President Aivar Pohlak said the crossover to Pehrsson's system has been harder than expected, adding that the feedback from players is positive and that the FA made the right decision in hiring him. The initial talk, in 2013, was to hire Pehrsson as an interim coach until an Estonian can be found. Martin Reim was then the favorite to take over but little has been heard of him since.

Theoretically, Estonia can still come second in the group, although with tough matches against England and Switzerland still to be played, third place is the main aim.

After Sunday, Estonia is fourth, two points behind Slovenia, and one above Lithuania. Slovenia lost 3-2 to England while Lithuania lost 2-1 against Switzerland. England is the run-away leader in the group with six wins out of six and 18 points.

Estonia will face Lithuania home on September 5, then Slovenia on September 8 away, England on October 9 away and Switzerland at home on October 12.

Editor: J. M. Laats

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