This Friday, the brand new UEFA Women's Nations League tournament gets underway. The Estonian women's national team kick off their campaign against Kazakhstan at the Tamme Stadium in Tartu. The match between the other two sides in their group, Israel and Armenia, has been postponed until December.
For the inaugural UEFA Women's Nations League, 51 national teams from across Europe have been placed into three different leagues A, B and C, according to their UEFA coefficient rankings. Within those leagues, they have then been divided into groups of three or four teams.
Similar to the men's Nations League, which was introduced in 2018, UEFA has launched the new competition to increase the number of competitive and entertaining international matches in the women's game.
"It's definitely very special to play in the Nations League," Estonian striker Getter Saar (FC Flora Tallinn) told ERR. "It's a new format. We have a chance to be a part of it and test ourselves on the international stage against teams, who are closer to our level."
Estonia are in League C, Group 4, where they will face home and away fixtures against Israel, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
Their first opponents are Kazakhstan, a side they defeated twice in the World Cup qualifiers last year. Saar, a 23-year-old striker, who also studies IT at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and works as a mobile app tester at LHV Bank, scored in both of those ties, twice in the 4-2 home victory, and once in the 2-0 away win.
"I scored in both games, and we won both games. The goals came about as the result of team work. My role there in the end was to put the ball in the back of the net. It was down to team work that we were able to create those chances and we won because of that," Saar said.
According to striker Lisette Tammik (Flora Tallinn), who also scored against Kazakhstan last year, it could be a different story in Friday evening's match at the Tamme Stadium in Tartu, as Estonia's opponents have been working with a new head coach since the summer.
"I think we're going to be up against quite a new team because they've changed coaches and so they're starting from scratch. We'll have to adapt well," said Tammik, who is currently the only professional playing in the Estonian women's league (Naiste Meistriliiga).
Should Estonia end up topping their group, the reward would be promotion to League B for the next edition of the competition. Finishing as one of the top three runners-up in League C, will earn them a play-off match against one of the third-placed side from League B.
The results of the Nations League fixtures will also have an impact on seedings for the UEFA Women's Euro 2025 qualifiers. The finals of that competition will take place in Switzerland in July 2025.
The Estonian women's national football team's Nations League match against Kazakhstan kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Tamme Stadium in Tartu.
Estonia then face Israel at the same venue on Tuesday, September 26. Kick off is also at 6 p.m.
Editor: Michael Cole