Estonia vs Czech Republic predictions, preview, team news and more
The Czech Republic begin their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Estonia on Wednesday at neutral Arena Lublin in Poland.
Since becoming an independent nation in 1993, the Central European outfit has only been a part of the 2006 showpiece.
They are now aiming to end the long wait for another final appearance, although Jaroslav Silhavy’s side have a rather difficult squad to negotiate.
Belgium and Wales are the favorites to move up from Group E, but the Czech Republic’s good performance in recent years should make them a dark horse.
They qualified for the 2020 European Championship in their group behind England and then were promoted to A-rank in the UEFA Nations League.
The Czechs will look to kick off their qualifiers with an easy win over Minnows Estonia, who is ranked 108 in the world.
The Baltic side often finishes at the bottom of their group in these qualifiers and have not won a competitive match since March 2019.
Estonia vs Czech Republic head to head
The teams have only met three times before, with the Czechs winning three times.
However, their last clash was in June 2004, when the Locomotives won a friendly 2-0 home victory.
Estonia Form Guide (all competitions): LDDLD
Forms guide for the Czech Republic (all competitions): LWLWW
Estonia vs Czech Republic team news
Thomas Haberli has named a fairly young side with Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Jacob Hein, Karol Mets, captain Konstantin Vassilijev and striker Henri Anier.
However, some experienced players such as Siim Luts, Ilja Antonov, Henrik Ojama and Sergei Zenjov will be missing.
Injured: Siim Luts
Unavailable: Ilja Antonov, Henrik Ojama and Sergei Zenjov
Silhavy has named a solid squad for the next triple header. The squad includes Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, Pavel Kaderabek, West Ham’s Tomas Soucek and Bayer Leverkusen star Patrik Schick.
The only notable absent from the visitors is Petr Sevcik.
Injured: Petr Sevcik
Estonia vs Czech Republic Prediction XI
Estonia (4-2-3-1): Karl Jakob Hein; Nikita Baranov, Joonas Tamm, Marten Kuusk, Artur Pikk; Vladislav Kreida, Mattias Kait; Sergei Mosnikov, Konstantin Vassilijev, Vlasiy Sinyavskiy; Rauno Sappinen.
Czech Republic (4-2-3-1): Tomas Vaclik; Vladimir Coufal, Pavel Kaderabek, Ales Mateju; Ondrej Kudela; Tomas Soucek, Alex Kral; Lukas Masopust, Vladimir Darida, Jakub Jankto; Patrik Schick.
Estonia vs Czech Republic prediction
Given Estonia’s historic poor record, the Czechs should strike this one without much hassle.
Prediction: Estonia 0-2 Czech Republic