Trap delight after Ireland draws Estonia in Euro play-offs
Published 13/10/2011 | 12:23
IRELAND will play Estonia in the Euro 2012 play-offs, with the second leg at the Aviva Stadium.
This was the preferred draw, as Estonia are regarded as the weakest of the eight teams in contention
Tuesday`s win over Armenia ensured Giovanni Trapattoni`s men finished second in Group B and they were paired off with the Group C runners-up in this afternoon`s draw.
Estonia have never reached the finals of a major tournament, and this is Tarmo Ruutli`s side`s first play-off appearance.
Ireland have played in five-play offs before, winning just once, while their last appearance ended in acrimony when they were knocked out by France following a controversial handball by Thierry Henry ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
The first leg will take pGiovanni Trapattonilace in Estonia on either November 11 or 12, with the return leg at Dublin`s Aviva Stadium on November 15.
Estonia finished 10 points behind group winners Italy in qualifying, with six of their points coming courtesy of wins over Northern Ireland.
The Republic emerged from a tough group containing winners Russia and the likes of Armenia and Slovakia to secure second spot by four points.
They have only reached the European Championship finals once before - in West Germany in 1988 - but will be relatively pleased to have drawn Estonia.
There were tougher-looking assignments in the pot of unseeded teams they could have been put up against, with Turkey hosting Croatia, the Czech Republic taking on Montenegro and Bosnia going up against Portugal.
Speaking after the draw, a happy manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: ‘‘It is extremely positive for Ireland that we will play the first leg away.
‘‘We should not underestimate our opposition, or any team, including Estonia, to have made it through to the play-off, they must have quality and mental fortitude.
‘’Our build up to this stage of the competition has shown us the importance of organisation, attention to detail, and self-belief. That will be vitally important to us as we prepare for these games in November."