The Estonian women's national football team are set to take on France in a World Cup Qualifier at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn on Friday evening at 18:00. The French side are currently one of the top teams in women's football, having reached the semi finals of the recent European Championships, where they were defeated 2-1 by Germany.
Estonia will be looking to improve on the result from the last meeting between the two teams last October, when France ended up with an 11-0 victory at the Stade Dominique Duvauchelle in Créteil.
In a press conference on Thursday, Estonian captain Kairi Himanen, emphasized that the team will be hoping to use the occasion to restore some pride.
"The first keyword is dignity", said Himanen, who plays her club football for Women's Meistriliiga club Saku Sporting. "We want to play dignified and beautiful football. We're a team that's tight but also diverse, with players who want to play technically and we want to show that tomorrow," she added.
"We want to be solid defensively and concede as few goals as possible," Himanen continued. "However, we also have another target. We really want to add to our goal tally. We've experienced the pleasure of scoring five goals in this qualifying group (so far), and it would be fantastic to get at least one more tomorrow. The whole team really wants that!"
Estonia's joint head coach Anastassija Morkovkina said, that despite their heavy defeat to France earlier in the qualifying campaign, the Estonian team were not afraid of any opponents.
"France will come, but we've got great players who are capable of showing their skills. We're not afraid of anyone - and that's the most important thing," Morkovina said.
France head coach Corinne Diacre has suggested that she may rest some key players on Friday, however Morkovkina believes that no matter who is in the starting lineup, it will be a tough game for Estonia.
"When we talk about France, we realize that they are one of the top teams in the world. It really doesn't matter who is on the pitch," said Morkovkina.
"The most important thing is the lines and the pattern. We try to make ourselves clear to the players, and give them as much detail as we can so they understand what we trying to achieve. I think the most important thing is not to concentrate on their good players, but on the things that we can do to cause them problems," Morkovkina said.
Estonia are currently in fifth place in their World Cup Qualifying group, with one win and seven defeats from their first eight games. France top the group with eight wins from eight.
Estonia are 10 points behind fourth place Greece, meaning they will definitely miss out on next year's finals in Australia and New Zealand.
After Friday's game with France, the Estonian team will face Kazakhstan away from home on Tuesday September 6, where they will be hoping to pick up another 3 points against a side they beat 4-2 in Pärnu in June.
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying match between Estonia and France will also be shown on ETV 2 here, with live coverage starting from 17:50 on Friday.
Editor: Michael Cole