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Estonian men's football team to meet Sweden again, in UEFA Nations League

Estonian men's national football team manager Thomas Häberli.
Estonian men's national football team manager Thomas Häberli. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia will face Slovakia, Azerbaijan and Sweden in its UEFA Nations League group games, following Thursday's drawn in Paris.

The UEFA Nations League is a biennial international football competition played by the senior men's national teams of UEFA member associations. Spain are the current champions of this competition.

Two of the teams Estonia was drawn against on Thursday, Sweden and Azerbaijan, will already be well familiar as they were group-mates of Estonia's in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The national team's manager, Swiss national Thomas Häberli (pictured), said after the draw that: "We know Sweden we played them two times and Azerbaijan as well, so in that sense there's nothing new."

"We hoped of course that maybe a new or different nation would come, but it is how it is. Slovakia is strong as well. So it's a challenge, and we are looking forward to those games as it's one year later, and we'll see how much we have improved," Häberli went on.

Estonia currently places 122nd in the FIFA world rankings, and won the Nations League division D, known as League D, last season, leading to the return to the League C (there are four leagues in all, A-D).

Sweden is ranked 26th in the world by FIFA, Slovakia ranks 45th and Azerbaijan is 114th.

Estonia met Sweden and Azerbaijan in the European Championships Group F qualifiers, losing both times to Sweden and drawing once against Azerbaijan.

In the more than 30 years since both became sovereign nations, the only meetings between Estonia and Slovakia date back to 2005, when Estonia had to admit the superiority of the Slovaks in 2:1 and 1:0 losses, as part of the world cup qualifying campaign.

All three Nations League matches will be played over home and away legs, starting in September this year. 

League C group winners get promoted to League B for the following season, with the last-placed teams being relegated to League D.

Reigning Nations League champions Spain will face Denmark, Switzerland and Serbia in Group 4 of League A.

The full Nations League groups are as follows:

League A

Group 1: Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Scotland.
Group 2: Italy, Belgium, France, Israel.
Group 3: Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Group 4: Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Serbia.

League B

Group 1: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia.
Group 2: England, Finland, Ireland, Greece.
Group 3: Austria, Norway, Slovenia, Kazakhstan.
Group 4: Wales, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey.

League C

Group 1: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia,  Estonia.
Group 2: Romania, Kosovo, Cyprus, Lithuania/Gibraltar.
Group 3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Belarus.
Group 4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia.

League D

Group 1: Lithuania/Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein.
Group 2: Moldova, Malta, Andorra.

Estonia still in Euro 2024 play-offs

While Estonia only scored one point in its Group F qualifying campaign, due to the vagaries of the play-offs system, the team is still technically in with a chance of qualifying for the Euro 2024 finals in Germany in the summer. To do so, the team will need to overcome Poland, away, in the play-offs semi-final on March 21, and then win the play-offs final five days later.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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