Preview: Estonia vs. Cyprus – prediction, group information, lineups
Sports activities Mole previews Thursday’s Nations League conflict between Estonia and Cyprus, together with predictions, group information and attainable lineups.
To determine their UEFA Nations League destiny for the 2022-23 season, worldwide minnows Estonia and Cyprus meet in Tallinn on Thursday.
The competitors’s first two-legged ‘play-outs’ will choose which nation will keep in League C and which is consigned to Europe’s backside tier.
As a result of League C constitutes 4 teams whereas League D is made up of solely two, the 2 groups to be relegated are set to be decided over the course of the subsequent week.
Because the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar have already been promoted from League D, now Cyprus – the second-ranked group of these collaborating – will do battle with the third group of the quartet, Estonia.
World-ranked 106, the Estonians most just lately accomplished their World Cup qualification marketing campaign second-bottom of Group E, with a complete of simply 4 factors from eight matches – marginally sufficient to consign fellow also-rans Belarus to final place.
The Blueshirts accrued all of their factors final autumn – clinging on for a draw with Wales in Cardiff earlier than beating Belarus 2-0 again on residence soil – however had been then comfortably dispatched by each Belgium and Czech Republic of their last two matches.
If something, their type in the latest Nations League was considerably worse, and solely three factors taken from six fixtures noticed Karel Voolaid‘s group end adrift on the backside of League C Group 2; thereby forcing them into this two-legged tie for survival.
Swiss coach Thomas Haberli has taken the helm since that point, and the previous Basel assistant will now intention to retain Estonia’s third-tier standing, slightly than becoming a member of nations comparable to Andorra and San Marino down in League D.
Ranked only one place above their Baltic counterparts in FIFA’s world pecking order, Cyprus will get pleasure from residence benefit in subsequent week’s second leg, however first should journey to Tallinn’s A. Le Coq Area searching for their first victory for practically a 12 months.
Since defying the chances to beat Slovenia again in March 2021, eight defeats and a draw have adopted, so the Mediterranean minnows have definitely misplaced that profitable feeling.
Certainly, a spell of six matches main as much as October’s 2-2 draw with Malta noticed Nikos Kostenoglou‘s facet concede 15 occasions with out scoring even as soon as, and their most up-to-date run-outs had been a 6-0 thrashing by Russia and a 2-1 defeat in opposition to Slovenia to conclude World Cup qualifying.
Solely avoiding final place in Qualification Group H by advantage of a barely much less terrible purpose distinction than Malta, the Cypriots truly did end rock-bottom of League C Group 1 in the latest Nations League, below former supervisor Johan Walem.
The one win of that marketing campaign noticed Cyprus flip over 10-man Luxembourg in November 2020, and so they should now try to make amends by salvaging their League C standing.
Estonia Nations League type:
Estonia type (all competitions):
Cyprus Nations League type:
Cyprus type (all competitions):
Thomas Haberli has known as up a 26-man squad for the approaching days’ motion, which is able to determine Estonia’s Nations League destiny.
Expertise continues to paved the way for Thursday’s hosts, with veteran Konstantin Vassiljev nonetheless the main scorer within the squad on 25 targets from 137 worldwide caps, and the 37-year-old is anticipated to begin.
Captained by 36-year-old ex-Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan, the Blueshirts have omitted 88-cap defender Taijo Teniste (34), and on the different finish of the age spectrum, teenage goalkeeper Karl Jakob Hein – at present on mortgage at Studying from Arsenal – additionally drops out.
IFK Goteborg striker Erik Sorga is a younger choice up entrance, however could should make do with a spot on the bench if Sergei Zenjov is chosen to accomplice Rauno Sappinen.
Cyprus have named a 24-player choice, which options main energetic scorer Pieros Sotiriou, who has 11 worldwide strikes to his title thus far.
A current common with Serie A’s backside facet Salernitana, midfielder Grigoris Kastanos can be anticipated to be an influential determine for the away facet.
In the meantime, St Mirren’s Alex Gogic – at present on mortgage on the Scottish Premiership membership from Hibernian – has been neglected, so is not going to be including to his seven senior caps this month.
Estonia attainable beginning lineup:
Igonen; Paskotsi, Tamm, Mets; Puri, Kreida, Vassiljev, Poom, Sappinen; Zenjov, Anier
Cyprus attainable beginning lineup:
Dimitriou; Sotiriou, Laifis, Karo; Psaltis, Kastanos, Artymatas, Iouannou; Tzionis, Sotiriou, Papoulis
We are saying: Estonia 1-1 Cyprus
Neither nation is accustomed to taking the initiative, given their lowly standing and sparse successes, so a tentative first leg could finish all-square.
Each groups are susceptible to capitulate below strain although, so the likeliest end result could also be a rating draw – leaving the tie finely balanced earlier than subsequent week’s decider.
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