The Estonian U-17 women's football team will face Poland twice in the space of three days during a training camp in Tallinn, as the run up to the 2023 European Championships, which will be hosted in Estonia, begins.
Head coach Aleksandra Ševoldajeva has named a squad of 24 players from 12 different football clubs across Estonia. The Estonian squad met up on August 30 to start the week-long training camp, and will take on their Polish counterparts first on Saturday September 3 at 13:00, and then again on Monday September 5 at 11:00.
With Estonia qualifying automatically as hosts for next year's Women's Under-17 European Championships, friendly matches like these provide opportunities for head coach Ševoldajeva and her squad to test themselves against some of the continent's top sides in preparation for the tournament.
Ševoldajeva believes Poland, who followed a convincing 5-0 over Croatia with defeats against England (0-1) and France (1-6), will be tough opponents for the Estonian side. "We've analyzed Poland recently and we know that they are at a very good level and do well both with the ball and defensively," said Ševoldajeva. "They are a top-class team who have put in some excellent performances against England, France and Croatia - it will be both a great and tough encounter," she added.
Estonia will be looking to build on their recent run of good results, which saw them top their second-tier qualifying group for the 2022 European Championships, which were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina this May. While Estonia's successes against group rivals Georgia (5-2) and Bulgaria (4-3) were not enough to endure their qualification for the 2022 tournament, they will still fancy their chances next year on home soil.
In the fall, the Estonian side will play further matches against England, Denmark and Ukraine, with Ševoldajeva. believing the upcoming games against Poland will be crucial in their preparation for games against these top-level opponents.
"It is important for us to play games at as high intensity as possible ahead of the tournament, so that the players know how hard they will have to work," said Ševoldajeva. "Such challenging games are not something our team gets too often, and that's why the matches against Poland are very important for next year's finals," she said.
The Estonian women's U-17 team will face Denmark on October 7, England on October 10 and Ukraine on October 13, with all three games at the A .Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.
The 2023 UEFA European Women's Under 17 Championship is due to take place in Estonia from May 14 to 25 next year.
Editor: Michael Cole