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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
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# It Begins
Pareiko: Ireland can't handle quick, skilful players
The Estonian keeper has ramped up the slam talk as Trap and the boys head to Tallinn.

ESTONIAN KEEPER SERGEI PAREIKO has swapped pre-match pleasantries for a war of words, saying that Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland simply cannot compete against teams which play football.

The Boys in Green touch down in Tallinn this afternoon ahead of Friday’s Euro 2012 play-off, and their hosts are welcoming them with some good old fashioned mind games.

Pareiko, who has been capped 31 times for the national side, was between the sticks as Estonia sprung surprises on the road against both Serbia and Slovenia in qualifying.

And now he says coach Tarmo Rüütli’s game plan will show Ireland up as rigid and ponderous, taking Estonia all the way to Poland and Ukraine next summer.

“Some people have said that short passing and quick football could be a good weapon against the Republic of Ireland,” Pareiko said.

In their games against Russia and Armenia it was evident that the Irish sometimes can’t handle fast, skilful players.

Estonia come into the two-legged tie ranked 59th in the world, 35 places beneath Ireland. But, Pareiko added, anything is possible at this stage of qualification.

“I played against some Irish players recently [in the Europa League with Wisla Krakow], so I know a bit about them already. The ability of their players is obvious.

These two matches are special ones. Skill is an important issue, but character and luck will be big factors as well.

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