Euro qualifiers: Estonia 8-0 loss to Germany could have been worse
Estonia's national football team lost 8-0 to Germany at the Opel Stadium in Mainz on Tuesday evening, in its group C qualifying match for the 2020 European Championships. Had Estonian keeper Sergei Lepmets not pulled off some solid saves, the German scoreline could have reached double figures.
The first goal came on the 10 minute mark, as a Thilo Kehrer cross found Marco Reus, who thumped a shot high up into the net, past Lepmets.
The second goal saw a strike from winger Serge Gnabry after a touch back from Leroy Sané at 17 minutes, followed three minutes later by a Leon Goretzka shot after a cross from defender Joshua Kimich.
Goretzka was involved in the next goal, after he was brought down by defender Joonas Tamm and referee Ali Palabıyık (Turkey) awarded a penalty to the Germans. German midfielder İlkay Gündoğan duly obliged by sending Lepmets the wrong way.
One more goal followed in the first half, as Germany pretty much remained in the Estonian third of the pitch. Reus, of Borussia Dortmund, launched a free kick over the Estonian wall on the 37th minute, to make it 5-0.
In the second half, Estonia lasted seventeen minutes without conceding, with Sergei Zenjov having three attempts, a free kick which went wide, and two more shots on goal which were picked up by Manuel Neuer. Soon after, Lepmets did well to fist a Reus half-volley over the bar.
Reus soon missed another shot, but it was only a matter of time before the hosts opened their account for the second half, with a low cross from left-back Marcel Halstenberg finding Gnabry, who pushed it past Lepmets on the 62d minute.
Reus was brought off soon after and replaced by Timo Werner. Sané managed to chest the ball down and drive past Lepmets; the Manchester City man was adjudged offside, and another Halestenberg cross was pushed just wide by Werner.
The Germans continued to pile the pressure on Estonia as Lepmets pulled off another good save from Sané, Gnabry just missed scoring off a corner, and Lepmets blocked another shot from Werner. However, inevitably the seventh goal was not long coming, as Werner played a through ball from Julian Draxler over the Estonian keeper.
Gnabry, of Bayern Munich, did not give up on trying for a hattrick, something denied to Reus when he was substituted. Following another Lepmets save from Draxler, Sané finally managed to add his name to the scoresheet with an arcing shot two minutes from the end, to make it 8-0, with Kimmich coming close to making in nine in stoppage time.
ERR's Estonian sports portal has all the goals, should any readers wish to relive, or indeed see for the first time, all eight of them plus other highlights.
Match statistics said it all really. Germany had 77 percent of possession, 10 corners (Estonia won none), 27 attempts to Estonia's four (with 17 of those on target to Estonia's two, both from Zenjov) and 946 completed passes versus Estonia's 138.
The result puts Estonia at the bottom of Group C after losing home and away to current group leaders Northern Ireland. Germany is currently in second place. Estonia has nearly three months to regroup for its next game, at home to Belarus on September 6.
Tuesday's defeat was the biggest loss by the national side since the country regained independence in 1991. Previous high-scoring defeats included 8-1 away to Belgium, and a 7-0 loss at home to Portugal (both in 2016), with 7-0 losses posted against Bosnia-Herzegovina (home, 2008), Israel (away, 1999), and Finland (away, 1994).
The result was also Estonia's biggest losing margin in nearly 100 years. The last time Estonia lost by eight goals was in 1922, when it was defeated 10-2 by Finland.
The national team will nonetheless be celebrating its centenary next year. Its highest-scoring wins, both 6-0, came away to Gibraltar in 2017, and, way back in 1928, at home to Lithuania.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte