Euro 2012 Preview: Estonia vs Republic of Ireland

by Punter's Hero on November 11, 2011

in Football, Latest News

Estonia will host the Republic of Ireland on Nov. 11th in the opening game of their Euro 2012 home-and-home playoff series. The first match will be held at the Le Coq Arena with the second game taking place on Nov. 15th at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Ireland finished in second place in a very tight Group B with 21 points from six wins, three draws and just one loss. They finished two points behind group winners Russia and four ahead of Armenia. They didn’t clinch their playoff spot until the last day of qualification when they edged Armenia 2-1 in Dublin.

Estonia finished their group qualifying games on Oct. 7th while there were still games to be played on Oct. 11th, including Serbia away to Slovenia. Estonia had finished with 16 points from five wins, a draw and four losses. Serbia had a chance to overtake them for the playoff spot in Group C if they would haven’t beaten Slovenia, but they lost 1-0, giving the Estonians second spot a whole 10 points behind group winners Italy and just one ahead of Serbia and two up on Slovenia.

Estonia manager Tarmo Ruutli has midfielder Andrei Sidorenkov back on his 22-man roster as well as forward Vladimir Voskoboinikov. Sidorenkov and Voskoboinikov weren’t played at all during the group qualifying stages. Voskoboinikov will replace Sergei Zenjov since he’s out with an injured knee and was suspended for the first game against Ireland anyway.

Tarmo Ruutli feels his side matches up well against Ireland because Estonia plays a physical and fast-paced game, much like the Irish do. The two teams have met just twice before with Ireland winning both games, one at home and one away.

Robbie Keane and Shane Long were named to the 26-man Ireland roster by manager Giovanni Trapattoni even though it was feared they weren’t fit. However, Keane has been playing in the playoffs for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS. Long, who plays for West Bromwich in the English Premier League may not see any action though unless his knee injury heals pretty quickly. Striker Kevin Doyle was selected, but he will miss the first match because of suspension.

I’m not really sure if the luck of the Irish exists when it comes to football. We just have to look at the way they got cheated out of qualifying for the World Cup a couple of years ago when France’s Thierry Henry handled the ball for a crucial goal against the Irish in the last qualifier. They should have enough talent to beat Estonia though, but this series looks like the home team will win each game, meaning Estonia should win this one as they try to reach their first major soccer tournament ever.

Sportsbook William Hill lists the odds of an Estonia win at 21/10 with a Republic of Ireland victory at 5/4 and a draw at 9/5.

Estonia

Goalkeepers: Sergei Pareiko (Wisła Kraków), Pavel Londak (FK Bodø/Glimt), Artur Kotenko (no club)


Defenders: Alo Bärengrub (JK Nõmme Kalju), Enar Jääger (Aalesunds FK), Ragnar Klavan (AZ Alkmaar), Taavi Rähn (Tianjin Songjiang FC), Raio Piiroja (Vitesse), Andrei Stepanov (FC Gomel), Tihhon Šišov (Xäzär Länkäran FK), Taijo Teniste (Sogndal IL Fotball)

Midfielders: Aleksandr Dmitrijev (FC Ural Ekaterinburg), Dmitri Kruglov (FC Rostov), Sander Puri (Lombard-Pápa TFC), Ats Purje (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Andrei Sidorenkov (Viborg FF), Konstantin Vassiljev (FC Amkar Perm), Martin Vunk (Nea Salamis FC)


Forwards: Tarmo Kink (Middlesbrough FC), Jarmo Ahjupera (Újpest FC), Kaimar Saag (Silkeborg IF), Vladimir Voskoboinikov (FC Khimki)

Republic of Ireland

Goalkeepers:
Shay Given (Aston Villa FC), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland AFC), David Forde (Millwall FC)


Defenders
:
John O’Shea (Sunderland AFC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), Darren O’Dea (Leeds United AFC), Paul McShane (Hull City FC)


Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic FC), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town FC), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Darron Gibson (Manchester United FC), Andy Keogh (Leeds United AFC), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth FC)


Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC)

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