The Estonian national men's football team saw its European Championships 2024 qualifying campaign come virtually, but not quite, to an end Thursday night after losing 2:0 at home to Austria.
The team has one more match to play in Group F, but with one point has few prospects of going to Germany next year, though there is a theoretical chance of making the playoffs even now.
The match was the last home game in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The visitors head that table and had already booked their ticket for Germany 2024, as had second-placed Belgium.
Austria came from a one-goal deficit when the two teams met in March in Linz, to win 2:1, with the winner coming two minutes before regular time.
Since then, Estonia had under-performed at home in particular, and had not scored in the last four home games.
The team was also missing several key players, including veteran midfielder Konstantin Vassiljev (Flora) and striker Rauno Sappinen (Hapoel Jerusalem), who scored Estonia's goal against Austria in March.
Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein also started.
Team captain Karol Mets (St. Pauli) said ahead of the clash that: "Bad results are an integral part of football. We have to deal with it."
"I think what we need is more chances to score today," Mets went on, speaking to ERR.
On the day at the A Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia went down 2:0 as of the break thanks to goals from Konrad Laimer (Bayern Munich) and Philipp Lienhart (SC Freiburg). Estonia had missed a chance early on in the games as Vlasiy Sinyavskiy (Slovácko ) put the ball over the bar from a few meters out.
Austria started the second half taking more initiative, but neither they nor the hosts were on target, despite Estonia pressing forward in attack at times.
Striker Oliver Jürgens (Internazionale) came on as a substitute and making his debut for the senior team, with half an hour to go.
Elsewhere in Group F, Azerbbaijan were surprise victors at home to Sweden, and will finish several points ahead of Estonia in last place.
Estonia has one more qualifier to go, a mere formality, also away to Sweden on Sunday, and has accrued one point in the seven games during its qualifying campaign.
The Euro 2024 finals take place in Germany in June to July next year.
In addition to Austria and Belgium, Spain, Scotland, France, England, Hungary, Switzerland, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey have also qualified for the finals, along with Germany as hosts, while the eliminated teams at this stage are Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Gibraltar, North Macedonia, Malta, the Faroe Islands, San Marino, Belarus, Andorra, Liechtenstein and Sweden.
Editor: Andrew Whyte