Estonia’s first fixtures after gaining independence came during qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup™, although they only picked up one point from ten matches. They recorded their first competitive victory in the next campaign four years later, collected two wins and two draws in the build-up to the 2002 tournament, and managed five wins, two draws and five defeats in Germany 2006 qualifying. However, Estonia were unable to maintain that level of performance during qualifying for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, finishing fifth in their group each time.
The Sinisargid have not featured at a major competition since participating at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in 1924, and they will need something special if they are to reach Russia 2018. Estonia are currently trying to fill the void left after record goalscorer Andres Oper and long-standing captain Raio Piiroja stepped down from international duty. Defender Ragnar Klavan has taken over the captain’s armband, and he is flanked by experienced players such as goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko and Dmitri Kruglov.
Magnus Pehrrson succeeded Tarmo Ruutli as head coach in December 2013. Before that he was in the dugout at Swedish club Djurgardens IF, with whom he won the league title as a player in 2002, and also at Danish outfit Aalborg BK.
53 – Estonia are the only European side to have played at least one international match against all other 53 UEFA member nations.
The former stars
Martin Reim, Marko Kristal, Mart Poom, Sergei Terehhov, Indrek Zelinski, Eduard Ellman-Eelma, Richard Kuurema, Arnold Pihlak, Andres Oper, Raio Piiroja