30 years since Estonia's football team first appearance after independence

Urmas Hepner (right) in the June 3, 2022 clash against Slovenia.
Urmas Hepner (right) in the June 3, 2022 clash against Slovenia. Source: Lembit Peegel/EJL

Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the first time the Estonian men's national football team played competitively, less than a year after the restoration of Estonia independence.

On June 3, 1991, Estonia hosted Slovenia at the Kadriorg Stadium in Tallinn, with the result ending up as a 1:1 draw, thanks to a goal from Aleksandr Puštov (Estonia, 7th minute) and an equalizer from Slovenia's Igor Benedejcic equalized in the 73rd minute.

In addition to Puštov, a young Mart Poom, later to play for several top-flight English Premier League sides and consistently voted the top Estonian player of all-time, took the field in goal, and was joined by Meelis Lindmaa, Urmas Hepner, Igor Prins, Toomas Kallaste, Martin Reim, Indro Olumets, Tarmo Linnumäe, Risto Kallaste, Urmas Kirs, Urmas Kaljend, Sergei Ratnikov, Marko Kristal and Viktor Alonen.

Highlights of the momentous occasion are below.

Estonia's national team first played in 1920 and continued to do so through the period of the First Republic, ending with the Soviet occupation from 1940.

A high point so far since independence was restored came in 2012, when the team made the Euro 2012 play-offs.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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