The Estonian men's football team defeated San Marino 4-0 away from home in their final UEFA Nations League Division D, Group 2 match. The win was Estonia's fourth in as many games during the competition, meaning they finish top of their three-team group with a 100 percent record.
Estonia, who went into the game having already confirmed victory in the group and promotion to Nations League C, dominated possession in the first half, but found the hosts hard to break down.
Estonia finally opened the scoring on 38 minutes through Henri Anier (Muangthong United) after some good work in the build up from Konstantin Vassiljev (Flora Tallinn) and Bogdan Vaštšuk (Stal Mielec).
Estonia began the second half much better than the first, doubling their lead on 55 minutes through Tartu Tammeka midfielder Taijo Teniste, who scored his first international goal at the age of 34.
Rauno Sappinen (Piast Gliwice) made it 3-0 to Estonia eleven minutes later, before Muangthong United striker Anier scored his second of the night, and 21st for the national team, on 79 minutes to complete the rout.
Anier's goals put him fourth in the list of Estonia's all-time top goalscorers, with the striker keen to add to his total in future.
It's a great honor to score goals for my country," said Anier, 31. "I'm not chasing any numbers, but 21 is already big enough for the number of games I've played. I'm satisfied, but always hungry for more," he told online football portal Soccernet.ee.
After the game, Estonia's head coach Thomas Häberli said he was proud of the way his side played. "It's never easy for Estonia to pick up wins at international level. The goal was to get back to League C, and we managed to do that by getting maximum points. You can be proud of the players," said Häberli, according to Soccernet.ee's report.
Estonia finish the group with 12 points from four games, having scored ten goals and conceded just two. Malta came second with six points, while San Marino, who failed to score a single goal during the campaign, finished last with zero points.
Estonia will now move up to Nations League C for the next installment of the competition during the 2024/25 season, where they will have the opportunity to test themselves against higher quality opposition.
"There's definitely a lot to improve on and we'll do that in the next games," said Anier. "We are looking forward to the next game in November but for now we have to savour the moment of finishing the group stage with a clean sweep and moving up to League C," he said.
Estonia will now look ahead to the Baltic Cup, where they face Latvia in Riga on November 16. Victory in that match would see them defending the trophy they won in 2021 against either Lithuania or special guests Iceland in the final, at Tallinn's A. Le Coq Arena on November 19.
Editor: Michael Cole