WHILE THE BUILD-UP to this Friday’s Euro 2012 play-off has been relatively low key on these shores, the game seems to be hugely anticipated in Estonia.
Delfi Sport reports that there has been a proposal to show the game on the big screen in the Liberty Square in Tallinn, for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have a ticket.
The same site also suggests Ireland are suffering somewhat of a ‘curse’ in the forwards department, in light of the recent injuries to Leon Best, Shane Long and Robbie Keane, in addition to Kevin Doyle’s suspension.
Meanwhile, Meie Maa previews the game, by interviewing a number of minor Estonian footballers and asking their predictions for the game. Everyone predicts a win for Estonia on aggregate, bar Aljas Rene, who pessimistically suggests it will be a draw at home, followed by a 2-0 loss in Dublin. There is also talk of the Ireland team being “very hard workers.”
In addition, Martti Gantry believes Estonia need to attack Ireland and lists their key players as Konstantin Vasilyev, Raio Piiroja, Tarmo Kink and Sergei Pareiko.
Speaking to Estonian paper Ohtuleht, the side’s captain Piiroja describes Ireland as “the favourites,” claiming that Robbie Keane is a “world football legend” and stating, rather contentiously, that the Irish team is now much more creative and less long ball-oriented than when the sides met in the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Finally, Postimees, in contrast, describes Ireland as a long-ball team. The paper also compares them to Northern Ireland (but “stronger”) and expresses confidence that star defender Piiroja will be able to cope with their somewhat unsophisticated tactical approach.