Preview: Estonia vs. Belarus – predictions, team news, roster
Sports Mole provides an overview of Friday’s World Cup – Europe qualifying match between Estonia and Belarus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The last two teams in Group E of the World Cup qualifiers will meet on Friday at A. Le Coq Arena. Estonia play host to Belarus.
Estonia collected an impressive point in Wales last month, but are still behind Belarus by two points in the battle to avoid fifth place.
While Estonia and Belarus can still technically finish in the top two in the group, neither nation has a realistic ambition to do so in the next five weeks.
Rather, the European minnows are in a two-way battle to dodge last place, and the outcome of this game may well determine which side will support Group E.
Estonia had a keeper Karl Hein to thank for their unlikely point at Cardiff City Stadium last month as they notched their first point in four attempts.
Belarus have three points on the board, thanks to their 4-2 victory in the reverse fixture against Estonia seven months ago.
Since then Belarus have lost four consecutive qualifying matches, conceding 13 goals and scoring just two goals – eight of those goals against a game against Belgium.
Considering the friendlies, that’s five spinning losses for Georgi Kondratiev, having also lost 2-1 to Azerbaijan in June.
As for Estonia, they won three games on the spin earlier this year en route to lift the Baltic Cup. Since then, however, they have lost two and drawn.
Always, Thomas Haberli will be satisfied with the overall results and performance of his team since taking office in January.
Estonia have a game in hand against Belarus, but against Belgium, and will feel confident to overtake their opponents as the curtain falls on another qualifying campaign.
Estonia World Cup Qualifications – Europe Form:
Estonia form (all competitions):
Belarus World Cup Qualifications – Europe Form:
Belarusian form (all competitions):
Estonia has suffered a severe blow Rauno Sappinen missing the squad for matches with Belarus and Wales due to an elbow injury.
Markus Poom, who was presented late in Estonia’s last game, is likely to get the green light in place of Sappinen.
Joonas Tamm is another contender to enter the defense team.
Meanwhile, Belarus boss Kondratiev doesn’t have the most comprehensive choice of teams and he can pick an XI similar to the one used against Belgium last time around.
Max Ebong and Pavel Sedko are among those calling for callbacks in the starting lineup following the narrow 1-0 defeat.
Possible starting line-up from Estonia:
Hein, Paskotsi, Mets, Tamm, Pikk, Kait, Vassiljev, Sinyavskiy, Poom, Sorga, Anier
Starting eleven possible in Belarus:
Pavlyuchenko, Zolotov, Politevich, Shvetsov, Pechenin, Ebong, Sedko, Yablonski, Shevchenko, Lisakovich, Klimovich
We say: Estonia 2-1 Belarus
Belarus beat Estonia in the second leg, but since then it has been Friday’s hosts who have achieved the best results – including a draw against Wales in September.
Kondratiev’s side have lost five games in a row, losing by an aggregate score of 15-3, and we can see them dropping to another loss here to fall to the bottom of Group E.