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Estonia national football team

Nickname(s) Sinisärgid (Blueshirts)
Association Eesti Jalgpalli Liit (EJL)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Magnus Pehrsson
Captain Ragnar Klavan
Most caps Martin Reim (157)
Top scorer Andres Oper (38)
Home stadium Lilleküla Stadium
FIFA ranking
Current 87 Decrease 7 (1 October 2015)
Highest 47 (March 2012)
Lowest 137 (October 2008)
Elo ranking
Current 91 (9 September 2015)
Highest 51 (August 1927, Sept 1929, 6 Aug 1930)
Lowest 175 (August 1995 to May 1996)
First international
 Finland 6–0 Estonia 
(Helsinki, Finland; 17 October 1920)
Biggest win
 Estonia 6–0 Lithuania 
(Tallinn, Estonia; 26 July 1928)
Biggest defeat
 Finland 10–2 Estonia 
(Helsinki, Finland; 11 August 1922)

The Estonia national football team represents Estonia in international association football. Team members are selected by the head coach of Estonian Football Association (EJL). Estonia play their home matches at the Lilleküla Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia.

Estonia's first match was held against Finland in 1920, being a 6–0 defeat. The team participated in the 1924 Olympic Games tournament, their only participation. Estonia have never qualified for the World Cup or European Championship. The team have however reached the Euro 2012 qualifying play-offs, by finishing second in their qualifying group, before being drawn up against Ireland for a play-off tie, making 2011 the Annus mirabilis of Estonian football.

In 1940, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union and did not regain independence (and the possibility of a national football team) until 1991. Estonia's first FIFA recognised match as an independent nation after the break-up of the Soviet Union, was against Slovenia on 3 June 1992, a 1–1 draw in the Estonian capital city of Tallinn.

The record of the most international caps by an Estonian international (157), is held by Martin Reim, who held the European record in 2009 until November of that year. The record of most goals (38) is held by Andres Oper. The national team head coach has been Magnus Pehrsson since December 2013.


  • History 1
    • The Republic of Estonia (1918–1940) 1.1
    • The occupied years (1940–1991) 1.2
    • Return to international football, citizenship dispute and apprentice years (1991–1996) 1.3
    • The first foreign coach and the results improved (1996–2000) 1.4
    • A new stadium and the Dutch period (2000–2007) 1.5
    • Rüütli's head coach again and the anniversary year (2008–) 1.6
  • Tournament records 2
    • Olympic Games 2.1
    • World Cup record 2.2
    • European Championship record 2.3
  • Stadium 3
  • Kit 4
  • Supporters 5
  • Recent results and upcoming fixtures 6
    • UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying 6.1
  • Players 7
    • Current squad 7.1
    • Recent call-ups 7.2
    • Coaching staff 7.3
  • Player statistics 8
    • Most caps for Estonia 8.1
    • Top Estonia goalscorers 8.2
  • Manager statistics 9
    • 1920–1940 9.1
    • 1992–present 9.2
  • All-time team record 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The Republic of Estonia (1918–1940)

Estonians were introduced to the game of football by English sailors in the first years of the 20th century, when the land was still part of the Russian Empire.[1] The national team was formed after the war of independence (1918–1920). It played its first match on 17 October 1920 in Helsinki, Finland which ended in a 6–0 defeat. The game took place on a grass surface, which was a first for the Estonians.[2] The Estonian Football Association was founded on 14 December 1921 and affiliated with FIFA in 1923 joining Yugoslavia, Latvia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Turkey and Uruguay.[3]

Estonia's only participation in a major tournament took place in 1924 at the Olympic Games in Paris. Estonians lost their only match in the tournament to the United States 1–0.[4]

The Estonian league season usually lasted from the end of May to September. In 1928 the first Baltic football contest was held involving all three nations, it was held nine times during this period.[5][6] Four of them were held in Latvia, two in Estonia and three in Lithuania. Estonia was particularly notable for winning the edition of the tournament in 1938.[6] In the crucial meeting between them and Latvia at the Kadrioru Stadium, 2,000 out of the 12,000 spectators were Latvians.

Estonia's first FIFA World cup qualifying match took place on 11 June 1933 in Stockholm, Sweden. Match ended with Swedish 6–2 win. This match was also world's first FIFA world cup qualifying match. Since later on Sweden also defeated Lithuania, match between Estonia and Lithuania was cancelled, because Sweden had already won the group. Estonia's first points in the FIFA World Cup qualifying rounds were gained in

  • Estonian Football Association Official site
  • Estonian Football Association at FIFA official site
  • Estonian Football Association at UEFA official site
  • RSSSF archive of results 1920–
  • RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers
  • Estonia national team matches (Estonian)
  • Estonia national team matches 1920–1940

External links

  1. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Tallinn: K-Kirjastus, lk 8
  2. ^ Eesti jalgpallikoondise 1.maavõistlus ERR Sport, 17 October 2010
  3. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 9.
  4. ^ Olympic Football Tournament Paris 1924
  5. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 13.
  6. ^ a b c Baltic Cup Overview
  7. ^ a b c d e f WORLD CUP 1938 – QUALIFYING
  8. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 119.
  10. ^ a b c Estonia results overview
  11. ^ Margus Luik ja Indrek Schwede. Eesti Jalgpall 2002. Eesti Jalgpalliliidu ametlik teatmik, lk 50
  12. ^ a b Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 17.
  13. ^ a b c (Estonian)
  14. ^ (Estonian)
  15. ^ a b Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 31.
  16. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 32–33.
  17. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 32–36.
  18. ^ Reim, Olev 2002. Rahvuskoondise kümme aastat. Lk. 5.
  19. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 33.
  20. ^ Indrek Schwede, Olev Reim: Lõvid on legend, Sporditäht, 1998, nr 12, lk 20–25
  21. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 42.
  22. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 47.
  23. ^ Baltic Cup-overview.html Overview
  24. ^ Reim, Olev 2002. Rahvuskoondise kümme aastat. pg. 9.
  25. ^ Reim, Olev 2002. Rahvuskoondise kümme aastat. pg. 7–8.
  26. ^ Indrek, Schwede 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 46–54.
  27. ^ Indrek Schwede|Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 48.
  28. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 54.
  29. ^ Indrek Schwede 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 53.
  30. ^ a b Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 49.
  31. ^ Reim, Olev 2002. Rahvuskoondise kümme aastat. pg. 6–7.
  32. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. pg. 97.
  33. ^ Scotland must play an Estonian encore The Independent, 8 November 1996.
  34. ^ Šotlased lõõbivad mängu üle, mida kunagi ei toimunud. SLÕhtuleht, 27 May 2004.
  35. ^ 10 tähelepanuväärsemat spordisündmust Eestis, Sporditäht, 1998, nr 12, lk 9
  36. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 97.
  37. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 93.
  38. ^ Tarmo Rüütli kinnitati Eesti koondise peatreeneriks, 22 November 2007
  39. ^ "Kas Eesti jalgpalli matused? Bosniale kaotati 0:7!" SL Õhtuleht, 10 September 2008
  40. ^ "Eesti jalgpallikoondis jäi häbisse" Postimees, 10 September 2008
  41. ^ Eesti-Brasiilia sajandi mäng? Vaevalt küll, 60 February 2009
  42. ^ EJL pikendas lepingut Tarmo Rüütliga, 13 August 2009
  43. ^ SAJANDI VÕIT! Eesti jalgpallikoondis alistas võõrsil Serbia 3:1, 8 October 2010
  44. ^ Estonia celebrate their greatest night, 8 October 2010
  45. ^ Tulemusega manipuleerimine leidis kinnitust, 11 February 2011
  46. ^ Eesti võitis Uruguayd 2:0! Eesti Jalgpalli Liit, 25 March 2011
  47. ^ Eesti teenis Serbia vastu ülimagusa 1:1 viigi Eesti Jalgpalli Liit, 29 March 2011
  48. ^ Konstantin Vassiljev tõi kastanid tulest ja Eesti võitis Põhja-Iirimaad 2:1 ERR Sport, 7 October 2011
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Schwede, Indrek 2001. Väike jalgpallipiibel. Lk 11–12.
  53. ^
  54. ^ A. Le Coq. Meie partnerid
  55. ^ Kadriorg stadium demonstration website
  56. ^ Eesti koondis astub Fääri saarte vastu uues vormis Delfi Sport, 11 August 2010
  57. ^ Eesti vutikoondis saab uuel aastal uued särgid Eesti Päevaleht, 12 November 2003
  58. ^ Jalgpallihaigla liikmete nimekiri –
  59. ^ "Mis on Jalgpallihaigla ehk Eesti jalgpallifänluse lühiülevaade"
  60. ^ Hambutu mäng jättis Eesti fännid tagasihoidlikuks EPL, 15 October 2007
  61. ^ Nädala tegija – Bosnia "BH Fanaticos" fännid, 12 October 2009
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^


See also

The following table shows Estonia's all-time international record, updated as of 12 October 2015 after the match against Switzerland.[66][67]

All-time team record

Manager statistics

Player statistics

Position Name[65]
Manager Magnus Pehrsson
Assistant managers Janno Kivisild
Jesper Norberg
Goalkeeping coach Mart Poom
Fitness coach
Jimmy Högberg
Team doctor Kaspar Rõivassepp
Physiotherapists Taavi Põder
Marius Unt
Kit manager Miko Pupart
Team manager Raili-Raine Ellermaa

Coaching staff

  • INJ Withdrew due to an injury.
  • PRE Preliminary squad.
  • RET Retired from the national team.
Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Kristjan Tamme (1995-09-21) 21 September 1995 0 0 Pärnu Linnameeskond v.  England, 9 October 2015 PRE
GK Matvei Igonen (1996-10-02) 2 October 1996 0 0 Infonet v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
DF Igor Morozov (1989-05-27) 27 May 1989 29 0 Unattached v.  Lithuania, 5 September 2015 PRE
DF Artjom Artjunin (1990-01-24) 24 January 1990 6 0 Levadia v.  Finland, 9 June 2015
DF Vladimir Avilov (1995-03-10) 10 March 1995 1 0 Infonet v.  Finland, 9 June 2015
DF Henrik Pürg (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 0 0 Nõmme Kalju v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
DF Taavi Rähn (1981-05-16) 16 May 1981 74 0 Levadia v.  Norway, 12 November 2014
MF Frank Liivak (1996-07-07) 7 July 1996 3 0 Alcobendas Sport v.  England, 9 October 2015 PRE
MF Rasmus Peetson (1995-05-03) 3 May 1995 0 0 Levadia v.  Lithuania, 5 September 2015 PRE
MF Erik Listmann (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 0 0 Nõmme Kalju v.  Finland, 9 June 2015
MF Martin Vunk (1984-08-21) 21 August 1984 67 1 Pärnu Linnameeskond v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
MF Sergei Mošnikov (1988-01-07) 7 January 1988 23 0 Tobol Kostanay v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
MF Brent Lepistu (1993-03-26) 26 March 1993 1 0 Flora v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
FW Henri Anier (1990-12-17) 17 December 1990 23 6 Hibernian v.  England, 9 October 2015 PRE
FW Albert Prosa (1990-10-01) 1 October 1990 4 0 Flora v.  England, 9 October 2015 INJ
FW Artjom Dmitrijev (1988-11-14) 14 November 1988 1 0 Nõmme Kalju v.  San Marino, 14 June 2015
FW Kaimar Saag (1988-08-05) 5 August 1988 46 3 Levadia v.   Switzerland, 27 March 2015
FW Vladimir Voskoboinikov (1983-02-02) 2 February 1983 36 4 Nõmme Kalju v.   Switzerland, 27 March 2015
FW Rimo Hunt (1985-11-05) 5 November 1985 7 1 Kaysar Kyzylorda v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
FW Hannes Anier (1993-01-16) 16 January 1993 4 1 Flora v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
FW Kevin Kauber (1995-03-23) 23 March 1995 0 0 Tolmin v.  Qatar, 27 December 2014
[64]The following players have been called up to the squad within the last twelve months.

Recent call-ups

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Mihkel Aksalu (1984-11-07) 7 November 1984 20 0 SJK
12 1GK Marko Meerits (1992-04-26) 26 April 1992 3 0 Emmen
22 1GK Pavel Londak (1980-05-14) 14 May 1980 24 0 Bodø/Glimt
1GK Sergei Pareiko (1977-01-31) 31 January 1977 64 0 Levadia
1GK Mait Toom (1990-05-07) 7 May 1990 0 0 Flora
3 2DF Artur Pikk (1993-03-05) 5 March 1993 8 0 Levadia
4 2DF Alo Bärengrub (1984-02-12) 12 February 1984 48 0 Nõmme Kalju
5 2DF Markus Jürgenson (1987-09-09) 9 September 1987 5 0 Flora
15 2DF Ragnar Klavan (Captain) (1985-10-30) 30 October 1985 107 3 Augsburg
17 2DF Enar Jääger (1984-11-18) 18 November 1984 117 0 Vålerenga
20 2DF Gert Kams (1985-05-25) 25 May 1985 39 2 Flora
21 2DF Nikita Baranov (1992-08-19) 19 August 1992 0 0 Flora
23 2DF Taijo Teniste (1988-01-31) 31 January 1988 42 0 Sogndal
2DF Dmitri Kruglov (1984-05-24) 24 May 1984 99 3 Levadia
2 3MF Joel Lindpere (1981-10-05) 5 October 1981 104 7 Nõmme Kalju
6 3MF Aleksandr Dmitrijev (1982-02-18) 18 February 1982 94 0 Infonet
7 3MF Sander Puri (1988-05-07) 7 May 1988 61 3 Sligo Rovers
8 3MF Maksim Gussev (1994-07-20) 20 July 1994 1 0 Flora
13 3MF Siim Luts (1989-03-12) 12 March 1989 24 1 Levadia
14 3MF Konstantin Vassiljev (1984-08-16) 16 August 1984 83 20 Jagiellonia Białystok
16 3MF Ilja Antonov (1992-12-05) 5 December 1992 20 0 Levadia
18 3MF Karol Mets (1993-05-16) 16 May 1993 21 0 Viking
19 3MF Ken Kallaste (1988-08-31) 31 August 1988 20 0 Nõmme Kalju
3MF Igor Subbotin (1990-06-26) 26 June 1990 4 0 Levadia
3MF Andreas Raudsepp (1993-12-13) 13 December 1993 2 0 Levadia
3MF Andre Frolov (1988-04-18) 18 April 1988 1 0 Flora
3MF Rauno Sappinen (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 0 0 Flora
9 4FW Ats Purje (1985-08-03) 3 August 1985 54 7 Nõmme Kalju
10 4FW Sergei Zenjov (1989-04-20) 20 April 1989 48 9 Gabala
11 4FW Ingemar Teever (1983-02-24) 24 February 1983 30 4 Levadia
4FW Henrik Ojamaa (1991-05-20) 20 May 1991 23 0 Swindon Town
4FW Rauno Alliku (1990-03-02) 2 March 1990 8 0 Flora
Players withdrawn before the matches are excluded. [63]Caps and goals updated as of 12 October 2015 after the match against Switzerland.

The following players were called up for Saint Kitts and Nevis on 17 November 2015.[62]

Current squad


Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  England 10 10 0 0 31 3 +28 30 Qualify for final tournament 2–0 3–1 2–0 4–0 5–0
2   Switzerland 10 7 0 3 24 8 +16 21 0–2 3–2 3–0 4–0 7–0
3  Slovenia 10 5 1 4 18 11 +7 16 Advance to play-offs 2–3 1–0 1–0 1–1 6–0
4  Estonia 10 3 1 6 4 9 −5 10 0–1 0–1 1–0 1–0 2–0
5  Lithuania 10 3 1 6 7 18 −11 10 0–3 1–2 0–2 1–0 2–1
6  San Marino 10 0 1 9 1 36 −35 1 0–6 0–4 0–2 0–0 0–2

UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying

Source: Estonian Football Association

Recent results within the last 12 months and upcoming fixtures.

Recent results and upcoming fixtures

A large number of away fans have visited Tallinn. In 1938 which was the decisive meeting of the Baltic Cup tournament hosts and Latvia, a total of 12,000 spectators gathered at the Kadriorg Stadium of which 2,000 Latvians. In 2009 1,700 supporters of Bosnia and Herzegovina were at the Lilleküla Stadium.[61]

A busy away journey took place in October 2007, when at Wembley Stadium for the European championship qualifier with England a crowd of two thousand Estonian fans were in attendance.[60]

Estonia's main supporters group of that of the Jalgpallihaigla (English: Football Hospital), with over 600 members.[58] The group is committed to "Deal with all of your supporters issues from ticket distribution in a special fans section, and also with the fans as watchdogs for relations with the Estonian Football Association and their clubs".[59] Home games see the group as the most vocal, situated in the Southern section of the Lilleküla Stadium.


The kit of the Estonian national team (home games) traditionally consists of a blue shirt, black shorts and white socks, while a change strip (away games), is that of a white shirt, black shorts and blue socks. Before 1996, other colour combinations have been used. The goalkeeper usually wears a yellow jersey, black shorts and yellow socks. The kit design changes every two years to a new one. Since 1997 the team's supplier has been Nike,[56] while between 1992 and 1997 it was supplied by Lotto.[57] Below is a timeline of how the home kit colours have changed through time:


Estonia have also staged friendly matches away from Tallinn in Kohtla-Järve, Kuressaare, Narva, Pärnu, Tartu, Valga and Viljandi.

Their previous home ground was the Kadrioru Stadium, which opened in June 1926 with a 3–1 victory over Lithuania. The Kadriorg holds 5,000 seats[55] and in contrast to the Lilleküla Stadium, stages athletics events on a regular basis.

All home games since 2001 have been played in Tallinn at the Lilleküla Stadium, capacity is 9,692; with extra seats being installed it can hold 11,000. The stadium borrows its name from its sponsor being a major Estonian beer.[53][54] The stadium was opened on 2 June 2001, for the sold-out World Cup qualifier versus the Netherlands. This is also Estonia's largest football stadium. Lilleküla Stadium is also the home of FC Flora Tallinn.

Lilleküla Stadium has been the national stadium of Estonia since 2001.


Competition Place Points Goals Coach(es) Group members (points)
1934 WCQ 3 0 2–6 Sweden (4), Lithuania (0), Estonia (0)
1938 WCQ 3 2 4–11 Rein Germany (6), Sweden (4), Estonia (2), Finland (0),
1994 WCQ 6 1 1–27 Piir Italy (16), Switzerland (15), Portugal (14), Scotland (11), Malta (3), Estonia (1)
1996 ECQ 6 0 3–31 Ubakivi Croatia (23), Italy (23), Lithuania (16), Ukraine (13), Slovenia (11), Estonia (0)
1998 WCQ 5 4 4–16 Thordarson Austria (25), Scotland (23), Sweden (21), Latvia (10), Estonia (4), Belarus (4)
2000 ECQ 5 11 15–17 Thordarson, Rüütli Czech Republic (30), Scotland (18), Bosnia and Herzegovina (11), Lithuania (11), Estonia (11), Faroe Islands (3)
2002 WCQ 4 8 10–26 Pijpers Portugal (24), Ireland (24), Netherlands (20), Estonia (8), Cyprus (8), Andorra (0)
2004 ECQ 4 8 4–6 Pijpers Bulgaria (17), Croatia (16), Belgium (16), Estonia (8), Andorra (0)
2006 WCQ 4 17 16–17 Pijpers, Goes Portugal (30), Slovakia (23), Russia (23), Estonia (17), Latvia (15), Liechtenstein (8), Luxembourg (0)
2008 ECQ 6 7 5–21 Goes, Jensen Croatia (29), Russia (24), England (23), Israel (23), Macedonia (14), Estonia (7), Andorra (0)
2010 WCQ 5 8 9–24 Rüütli Spain (30), Bosnia and Herzegovina (19), Turkey (15), Belgium (10), Estonia (8), Armenia (4)
2012 ECQ 2 16 15–14 Italy (26), Estonia (16), Serbia (15), Slovenia (14), Northern Ireland (9), Faroe Islands (4)
2014 WCQ 5 7 6–20 Netherlands (28), Romania (19), Hungary (17), Turkey (16), Estonia (7), Andorra (0)
2016 ECQ 4 10 4–9 Pehrsson England (30), Switzerland (21), Slovenia (16), Estonia (10), Lithuania (10), San Marino (1)
2018 WCQ Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
  • First World Cup qualification game: 11 June 1933, Stockholm, Sweden (6–2 loss) (first FIFA World Cup qualification match in history);
  • First World Cup victory and also first away win: 19 August 1937, Turku, Finland (1–0);
  • First European Championship qualifying game: 4 September 1994, Tallinn, Croatia (2–0 loss);
  • First World Cup victory since return to independence: 5 October 1996, Tallinn, Belarus (1–0);
  • First European Championship victory: 4 June 1998, Tallinn, Faroe Islands (5–0);
  • First away win in the European Championship: 31 March 1999, Vilnius, Lithuania (2–1).

Estonia's key games during their independence are as follows [time, place, opponent (result)]:

European Championship record

World Cup record

Estonia's only participation in a tournament was the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, where the team lost 1–0 to the United States. The team were coached by Hungarian Ferenc Konya, also being their first ever manager. The Americans scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, being a penalty by Andy Straden. The Estonians were also given a penalty, only for Elmar Kaljot's effort to hit the crossbar in the 68th minute. After the defeat to the Americans, the Estonian Olympic team stayed on in Paris for three weeks, playing a friendly match with Ireland (3–1 defeat), and went to competing in Germany (including a 2–2 draw with 1. FC Kaiserslautern) and the Netherlands.[52]

Estonian national football team at the 1924 Summer Olympics.

Olympic Games

Tournament records

On 5 June 2012, Estonia set a record for being the first team to have played all of UEFA fellow 52 members.[49] The record was lost when Gibraltar was accepted as a full UEFA member in May 2013.[50] The record was regained in March 2014, when the two met in a friendly in Gibraltar.[51]

The regular qualification phase for the Euro 2012 tournament was completed with a win in the final game away to Northern Ireland, and once again maintained their possibility of reaching the play-offs and indeed a top two spot in a qualifying campaign for the very first time. The Estonian team knew that this would become reality if Serbia did not win their final group match against Slovenia.[48] Thanks to a first half goal by Dare Vršič, and a penalty miss by Serbia's Nemanja Vidić, Estonia shocked the football world by clinching a play-off berth despite losing 2–0 to Ukraine in a home friendly at the same time. During this phase of qualifying, Estonia won five matches while losing four and drawing one. They also scored 15 goals while conceding 14, giving them their first ever positive goal difference. They also picked up 16 points; their most ever in a single qualifying round with a possible 30 on offer. A few days later, the team learnt that their play-off opposition would be Republic of Ireland with the first leg in Tallinn. Estonia lost the home game 0–4 but managed a 1–1 draw abroad.

This was followed by a period of poor form, which began with an unofficial friendly game loss to the Basque Country, qualifying defeats to Italy and the Faroe Islands then followed, before a tour of South America saw the team lose to Chile and Uruguay. A 3–0 loss to Turkey in Istanbul then completed their friendly matches cycle before qualifying resumed. However, the Sinisärgid won away from home to Slovenia and at home to Northern Ireland, which lifted the team to 58th in the FIFA rankings, giving them their best position to date. This win completed their group matches in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

The Estonian team got an important victory in their next match, which was on 25 March at the Lilleküla Stadium over Uruguay in a friendly match. Uruguay had recently reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, have twice been World champions, twice Olympic champions and were sitting at 7th place in the FIFA rankings at the time of the 2–0 victory. The captain Raio Piiroja earned his 100th international cap.[46] On 29 March, the good performances continued with a 1–1 home draw against Serbia.[47]

Media attention came from a 2–2 friendly international result with Bulgaria. Two days before the friendly match, on 11 February 2011, bets were placed by officials regarding the outcome of the match. Suspicion of match manipulation was raised when a Hungarian referee gave four disputable penalties, being equally distributed between the two sides. The same team of officials also took charge of the game the day before, an international friendly involving Latvia and Bolivia which ended 2–1 in favour of the Latvians and had also seen three penalties awarded in the game, which were also all of the goals scored.[45]

Estonia later achieved one of its most famous victories, winning 3–1 against 15th placed FIFA rankings team Serbia on 8 October 2010, away from home in the 2012 European Championship qualifiers. The match took place four months after the Serbian team had competed in the World Cup.[43][44]

2009 was declared the 100th anniversary of Estonian football. The final matches for record cap holders Martin Reim (6 June versus Equatorial Guinea) and long-standing goalkeeper Mart Poom were held (against Portugal on 10 June). Sajandi mäng (English: Match of the Century)[41] was the first ever match versus Brazil, who had arrived in Tallinn as the FIFA World Rankings leaders, and also the five times world champion winning 1–0. Much attention was attracted the day after the international friendly, with the Estonian FA announcing that coach Rüütli's contract was to be extended to 2011.[42]

November 2007 saw the approval of a two-year contract for new head coach Tarmo Rüütli,[38] who had overseen the national team in the 1999–2000 season, with this being the last time the team took on an Estonian coach, as Pijpers was the first of three foreign coaches between 2000 and 2007. Rüütli's main task in his second term was to lead the team through the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches. The team showed volatile form in friendly matches during 2008. In September, the Estonians lost 3–2 to Belgium in an away qualifying match, but fell to a low ebb after being beaten 7–0 by Bosnia also on their travels,[39][40] and fell to an all-time low of 137th place in the FIFA World Rankings. The first home game of the campaign was a 3–0 loss to Spain, the regining European champions. The team still managed to pick up points during the qualification, which included holding Euro 2008 semi-finalists Turkey to a 0–0 draw. Further results were a 1–0 win over Armenia, and a 2–2 draw away from home before the campaign was completed with a 2–0 win against the Belgians. The team collected 8 points finishing fifth in a group of six.

Estonia – Brazil at the Lilleküla Stadium. 1–0 win for Brazil, 12 August 2009.
Estonia vs Turkey at the Lilleküla Stadium. 0–0 draw, 15 October 2008.

Rüütli's head coach again and the anniversary year (2008–)

Estonia then most successful tournament came in the qualifying rounds for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, under the supervision of Dutchman and assistant coach of Pijpers Jelle Goes, after Pijpers left the post in 2004. Five wins, two draws and five losses gave them 17 points in their qualification group and fourth place. The team were placed ahead of Latvia, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying was not as successful, which seen the team finish sixth in a field of seven teams, only ahead of Andorra who were also the only team they recorded wins against and gained a total of seven points. The Estonian FA shortly parted company with Goes in June 2007.

Their campaign for 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification, saw two victories over Andorra and two draws with Cyprus, which gave the team a total of eight points in the final table and fourth place with ten goals scored and 26 against, finishing ahead of those two teams. This was later matched in UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying, where they gained two more wins over Andorra and draws with Croatia and Bulgaria. The team's goals record was much more stronger defensively, only conceding six goals in their eight matches while scoring four.

Plans were later set by the football association to build a modern football home in Tallinn, which took place in 2000 and construction began outside of the Lilleküla railway line, giving it its original name of the Lilleküla stadium. The arena opened on 2 June 2001, ahead of their 2002 World Cup qualifying game against the Netherlands (4–2 defeat). The 9,300 tickets on sale for the match sold out within six hours.[37]

Head coach Teitur Thordarson resigned at the end of 1999, leading the Estonian football association to look for a new coach. They were taken over this time by Tarmo Rüütli (who was replaced by caretaker Aivar Lillevere for two games), who was appointed until autumn 2000, and seen the team through their qualifying group for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. After the departure of Rüütli and Lillevere's two game stint as caretaker manager, the Estonian Football Association made an agreement with Dutchman Arno Pijpers.

Estonia's national team has had two meetings with England, and both ended in 3–0 defeats, with the last to date being at Wembley Stadium on 13 October 2007.

A new stadium and the Dutch period (2000–2007)

[36] Estonia also entered the

At the end of qualifying, the Estonians finished fifth in a field of six teams on a total of four points ahead of Belarus. This was the first time the Belorussians finished last in a qualifying campaign, and had a weaker goal difference. Estonia scored four goals and conceded sixteen.

Results improved with the arrival of the newly independent team's first foreign coach, Icelandic floodlighting inadequate. This matter was raised with the officials who agreed with their concerns. In protest, the Estonians failed to show up, which kicked off only to be stopped seconds later.

A rise in the FIFA rankings began after Icelandic coach Teitur Thordarson was appointed.

The first foreign coach and the results improved (1996–2000)

From 14 October 1993 to 5 October 1996 Estonia played without a victory for almost three years and by February 1996 the team had sunk to 135 in the FIFA World Rankings. Public interest was at a low. In the autumn of 1994 when Estonia hosted Italy at the Kadrioru Stadium only 3000 people came to watch.[32]

In the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying tournament the team was coached by Roman Ubakivi. The qualification tournament ended without a single point and a goals record of three scored and 31 against. The biggest defeats came from abroad against Croatia (7–1) and Lithuania (5–0).

On 5 December 1992 the EFA decided to take part in 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament despite financial difficulties, the poor state of the Kadrioru Stadium and the inexperience of the national team.[31] Estonia ended the qualification tournament in the last place of the group and with record of one goal scored and 27 conceded. The team lost nine games and drew once against Malta.

The citizenship dispute heated up again in February 1993 when Estonia took part in a three team friendly tournament held in Finland. For the first time, non-citizen players Andrei Borissov and Sergei Bragin were allowed to represent Estonia in the national team. In a statement made on 23 February the government of Estonia urged the Estonian Central Sports Union to "consider manning Estonian sports teams only with Estonian citizens".[30] On 11 March the local press published an open letter in which the signatories accused EFA and the head coach Uno Piir of using four "alien citizens" (Andrei Borissov, Sergei Bragin, Aleksandr Puštov, Sergei Hohlov-Simson) in games and using Russian as the working language of the national team. The signatories also noted that "most of the positions belonging to Estonians (in youth teams) were filled with non-citizens".[30] According to Estonian press the EFA had also misled FIFA because most of those 97 players who had gotten the right to represent Estonia had not actually applied for citizenship.

At that time the composition of the squad was influenced by the country's citizenship policy. There were disputes whether the national team should include players who lived in Estonia but had not acquired Estonian citizenship. Most of those players in question were of Russian origin.[25][26] Approximately four months before the first official match against Slovenia FC Flora presented to the Estonian Football Association (EFA) an ultimatum signed by 25 players which stated that "only those who have acquired Estonian citizenship on the basis of legal continuity should be included in the national team".[27] In July of the same year FIFA gave the right to represent Estonia to 97 non-citizens who were according to EFA born in Estonia and were in the process of acquiring Estonian citizenship.[28] In October the board of EFA made a decision that after the 1 April 1993 non-citizens could no more debut in the national team.[29]

Estonia regained its independence on 20 August 1991, and then came back to international football when the team debuted in Baltic tournament taking place in November.[23] However, FIFA affiliation was not gained until 3 June 1992, with the first recognised match taking place in Tallinn as a friendly against Slovenia (1–1). This historic meeting under the guidance of coach Uno Piir was overseen by a team consisting of Mart Poom, Urmas Hepner, Igor Prins, Urmas Kaljend, Meelis Lindmaa, Toomas Kallaste, Tarmo Linnumäe, Indro Olumets, Martin Reim, Sergei Ratnikov, Risto Kallaste, Viktor Alonen, Urmas Kirs, Marko Kristal and Aleksandr Puštov.[24] Puštov was the scorer of the Estonian goal.

Return to international football, citizenship dispute and apprentice years (1991–1996)

. World War II, 24 April 1990) calling out the football governing bodies to only select the descendants of Estonians, leaving out immigrants who came to Estonia after Päevaleht The principle of assembling the squad was controversial. 63 players made a public addressing ([22] The

Estonian football-life was relaunched in mid-70s by the attempts of Roman Ubakivi,[19] who formed Estonian-language training groups. The most notable team was Lõvid (Lions) in 1980–1989, who were coached by Ubakivi and Olev Reim. Several players, Mart Poom and Martin Reim among them, became part of the national team later.[20] Not a single Estonian reached the soviet national team, but two Ubakivi's pupils, Ott Mõtsnik and Toomas Krõm, broke into the youth team.[21]

The clubs were renamed in the second half of the 1940s and the traditions started to fade. According to Uno Piir, the first national team manager after Estonia's re-independence, the reason for football's downfall in society was the inability to create a competitive Union-level club, hence the decrease in audience and the favouring of other sports by the governing bodies of sports.[16] The Estonian SSR had its representative team, but because of the occupation it did not take part of international competitions. Between 1948 and 1976, the Baltic Cup was held 19 times, which The Belorussian SSR won a few times and the Estonian SSR five times.[6] From 1969 to 1982, Estonia was the only Soviet state not participating in the Soviet Union's football league. During the 1970s, the game lost popularity in Estonia and the sport was mainly played by Russians.[17][18]

After Soviet occupation in August 1940, the national team demised alongside with the country. During German occupation (1941–1944), the team was revived and they played two unofficial friendlies (in Riga 0–4 and in Tallinn 1–8), but only few players remained from the pre-war era.[15] When Soviet troops invaded Estonia again, some of the best footballers (Richard Kuremaa, Elmar Tepp, Valter Neeris, etc.) were mobilised; some fled to west. Many ex-nationals (Arnold Pihlak, Arnold Laasner, etc.) were in Estonia's team in Geislingen's refugee camp.[15]

The occupied years (1940–1991)

On 18 July 1940 the team played their last official game as an independent nation for more than half a century. The game was played at the Kadrioru Stadium and was a 2–1 victory against Latvia.[10]

Players received small pay for their contributions – 5 Estonian crowns in 1938. The Baltic tournament victory was 50 in euros. [14] Players were mostly in Tallinn clubs, such as

The team's biggest win came on 26 July 1928 which was a 6–0 success against Lithuania in Tallinn,[10] meanwhile their biggest defeat came on 11 August 1922 which was a 10–2 loss to Finland.[10] Out of the team's head coaches before the Second World War, seven of them were Hungarian with Antal Mally taking this position twice. There were four foreign coaches (three Hungarians and one Austrian), while the first Estonian national team was coached by Albert Vollrat in 1932.[11] Coaches also played for several seasons, who also determined the composition of the football association.[12]

[9] which was their first entry, but only played one match being a 6–2 loss to Sweden, their scheduled match against Lithuania was not played as neither team could qualify.1934 qualification round The team entered the [7] As a result, Estonia failed to qualify for the World Cup.[8][7]

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