Estonia (Belgium’s opponent on Tuesday) excels in amateurism: match book full of errors at 0-5 against Sweden

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Belgium will soon play against Estonia for the tenth time. It promises to be a piece of cake: in Sweden the Estonians showed that they have little interest in football.

“We’re really sorry,” said a representative of the Estonian Football Association with genuine embarrassment, and that was completely understandable. In the match booklet that the Estonians distributed before the international match against Sweden, there was one mistake after another about the opponent. For example, the Swedish faces of the players did not match those of the names. However, it is not the case that Sweden is a team full of scratchers…

To be clear, that is Estonia. The team lost without a chance: 0-5. The analysis of midfielder Matthias Käit, player of the Romanian Rapid 1923, required few words: “This was embarrassing.”

Arsenal bencher

However, we read in the Estonian press that the Estonians believed in a good result. It is not stated what exactly that hope was based on. Estonia could not win the four matches for Sweden, not even against Azerbaijan (1-1). Normally, the Red Devils should not get into trouble for a second on Tuesday. In June the Estonians were still unruly, but even then it became a dry 0-3.

Estonia, number 111 in the FIFA rankings, does not have a single famous football player. The most valuable player in the core is goalkeeper Karl Hein, who sometimes sits on the bench at Arsenal (1.5 million euros). The other basic players against Sweden are under contract with modest clubs such as Botev Plovdiv, St. Pauli and Flora Tallinn. The captain is Konstantin Vassiljev. At 39, the offensive midfielder is an icon of Estonian football. He was already there in 2009 when Estonia upset the Red Devils: 2-0, with a goal from Vassiljev. Tuesday will be an anniversary match: it is the tenth mutual confrontation, the Belgians have won eight times.

Estonia’s coach is the 49-year-old unknown Swiss Thomas Häberli, who time and again opts for a 5-3-2. On X – the former Twitter – it can be found that he was recently a speaker at a trainers conference. His theme? Defensive organization. It could come in handy against Belgium: the Estonians want to avoid another pandering anyway. Captain Vassiljev thinks it is possible: “The 0-5 against Sweden was a good lesson.” (pjc)

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