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Estonians restore some pride with draw

BACK they flew, across the world, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Back to their clubs in (deep breath) Norway, Holland, Russia, China, Estonia, USA, Hungary, Cyprus and England, the Estonian dream over. But Tarmo Ruutli's side did restore some battered pride to the Estonian nation with last night's 1-1 draw as they look on while Ireland advance and they try to rebuild.

"We were never going to score five goals, so last night was a fair result and I wish Ireland well," Estonia's New York-based midfielder Joel Lindpere told the Herald.

"And I think Ireland can do OK at the finals. All their players play in world-class leagues and you could see that last night, they have some great players.

"They are a strong team but they also have tactics. They have something that not all international teams have, they have a real spirit and strength. They have a strength and know how to use it. It won't be easy for them at the Euros next year as they will come up against different styles and different teams, but they can be dangerous against any team in Europe," added Lindpere.

"With the situation we had at home - four goals and two red cards -- the game was lost for us. Ireland use their strength, and they do it in a proper way, they know what to do.

"So we can have no excuses. Last night was an even result and a fair result, the two teams had chances but it was logical that when Ireland had the 1-0 lead at half time, they would let us play a bit more and we got a goal. We can be proud of what we achieved."