The Estonian women's national football team will be hoping to get on the scoresheet for the first time in their inaugural UEFA Women's Nations League campaign, when they face Armenia. The two sides are first set to meet in Yerevan on Friday, before facing each other again next Tuesday in Tallinn.
The Estonian women's team played their first matches in the brand new UEFA Women's Nations League this September. After a goalless draw at home to Kazakhstan, they then suffered a 0-5 defeat to Israel. According to team captain Kairi Himanen (Saku Sporting), the side have now shaken off that disappointment and are now looking to get some goals and earn a victory against Armenia.
"We were in good shape then too, but now we've just got to improve on the things that caused us drop points last time. We're prepared to get the most out of the Armenia games" said Himanen.
"[They are] a spirited team that can attack and defend. Pretty similar to us in some ways. We need to keep our defensive block solid, but at the same time there will be opportunities, where we can hurt them and hopefully score goals ourselves," she added.
Having picked up four points from their opening two Nations League fixtures, Kazakhstan currently top Estonia's group. They are followed by Israel on three points and Estonia with one. Armenia are fourth, having played just one match so far, losing 2-1 to Kazakhstan.
A number of young players have been called up to the Estonian squad for the two matches against Armenia. One of them is 18-year-old FC Flora Tallinn midfielder Jaanika Volkov, who has already scored 16 goals in the Estonian Women's Meistriliiga this season. "The passes from teammates have certainly played a role and there also have been some good moments, where I have been able to finish off the attacks," said Volkov.
Jaanika Volkov, who so far has 12 caps for Estonia so, hopes the side will create better chances against Armenia than in the first two games of the Nations League campaign. "Last time, we were definitely a bit lacking when it came to finishing off our attacks. We are looking for wins in the next two games. To achieve that, we definitely need to score goals," she said.
Of the 23 player called up to the squad, ten come from FC Flora Tallinn, the side which secured the Estonian Women's Meistriliiga title last week. National team joint head coaches Anastassia Morkovkina and Sirje Kapper believe the freshly-crowned champions in the squad, will bring more confidence and positive feelings to rest of the team.
"We have really fresh Estonian champions, so Flora [players] will definitely be on a high. Overall, the season went very well, without any major injuries and the players are in very good shape right now. We're certainly looking forward to a really good game," said Morkovkina.
Editor: Michael Cole