Sweden won a consolation 2:0 Group F home victory over Estonia in the final game of the 2024 European Championships qualifiers on Sunday evening, though neither team has qualified for the finals in Germany next summer.
The result leaves the Estonian national side firmly rooted to the bottom of the group, after accruing a single point across all matches – in a draw away to Azerbaijan in June – and with a goal difference of minus 20.
This is the second European Championship qualifying campaign in-a-row that Estonia has failed to bag a single win, having taken – in one draw and seven losses in the 2020 qualification rounds also. The team last won a qualifier back in September 2015.
Group winner Belgium (20 points) finished with a 5:0 home win over Azerbaijan and is through to the finals in Germany next summer, as is second-pace team Austria (19 points).
Curiously, Estonia can in theory still qualify for the finals, due to the complexities of the UEFA qualification playoffs system, but this seems unlikely.
Midfielder Mattias Käit (Rapid București) said the team now needs to regroup and make the required improvements. "When the new [qualification] cycle starts, we have to play better. Right now, all this with the ball and also without the ball – we have to put in a lot more in both places," he said.
On the day, Sweden, reeling from Thursday's shock 3:0 away loss to Azerbaijan, built up the pressure through the first half after narrowly missing out on a sixth minute goal, with a header from Viktor Claesson (Copenhagen) giving the hosts the lead in the 22nd minute.
Sweden scored their second goal in the 55th minute, when an Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig) shot beat Estonian 'keeper Karl Jakob Hein (Arsenal).
Estonia last won a senior men's European Championships qualifier back in September 2015, with a 1:0 win over Lithuania.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Henrik Laever