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Estonians eager to restore some pride as Euro dream is over

THE dream is over as the Estonia seem to accept that they won't be at Poland/Ukraine next summer.

A squad with battered pride and reduced numbers -- three of their side which played against Ireland on Friday are out of tonight's tie in Dublin through suspension -- trained in Lansdowne Road last night, knowing that the expected 1,000-strong support in Dublin will be disappointed to see Ireland's players celebrate qualification at the end of 90 minutes.

So all that's left is a chance to show that Estonia are not as bad as they were made to look on Friday night. They may never be in this situation -- a play-off for the European Championships -- again so they want to at least make it clear that finishing in the top two was no fluke.

"We will try to be ready and take our experience from the last game and try and show that we deserved our place in the play-off," coach Tarmo Ruutli said in Dublin.

"The Irish team deserved it more to go to the finals, but a game is a game and tonight we start again at 0-0 and we will try to show interesting football and not just be there on the pitch and try to make a good result," added the Estonian coach.

He enjoyed his last trip to Dublin, as Ruutli was manager of the Levadia Tallinn side as they beat a Bohemians team featuring Stephen Ward 3-1 in the second leg of a UEFA Cup tie in 2004 and advanced to the next round.

A repeat scenario -- the Estonians knocking out Irish opposition -- is most unlikely, as even their national team coach admits.

Last week, qualification for Euro 2012 was a real aim for the Estonians, but now their objective is to score a goal and try to win the game over 90 minutes, even if winning the tie outright is impossible. "If we can't score four goals then at least we can score some goals. We will try to score and create more possibilities than we did in the first game," he added. "We lost one player early in the game and it was very hard to create something, but we will try," he added, aware that Estonia went away from home in the group stage and won. We have this experience in some games and we did well in some games, so why not repeat it tonight."

The Estonians are forced into at least three changes as keeper Sergei Pareiko, defenders Raoi Piiroja and Andrei Stepanov are suspended.

ESTONIA (probable): Londak (Bodo/Glimt); Jaager (Aalesunds), Rahn (Tianjin), Klavan (Aklmaar), Kruglov (Rostov); Teniste (Sogndal), Lindpere (NY Red Bulls), Vunk (Salamis Famagusta), Puri (Lombard-Papa); Vassiljev (Akmar Perm); Voskoboinikov (Khimki).


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