The hunt to secure qualification for the 2022 Qatar World Cup continues on Monday evening when Wales travel to A Le Coq Arena where they will face Estonia in Group E.
Rob Page‘s side enter this fixture on the back of a draw against Czech Republic, while Estonia are unbeaten in their last two qualifying games and will be full of confidence after securing their first win last time out.
Thomas Haberli‘s side lost their first three games in Group E, but their fortunes have turned for the better in their last two outings, most recently beating Belarus on home soil.
Erik Sorga and Sergei Zenjov ensured Estonia got their revenge on Belarus, who beat Haberli’s team in gameweek two for Estonia in this qualifying campaign, and the home team earned a 2-0 win on Friday evening.
That game was an encounter consisting of few chances, but Estonia will be pleased with their efficiency in front of goal and will be glad to get back onto the scoresheet having drawn a blank in their last two games including a friendly fixture against Northern Ireland.
Last month’s international week for these two sides was concluded with a goalless draw in Cardiff, despite Wales registering a total of 20 shots, therefore, a win for Estonia on Monday will take them to within a point of Page’s side.
Wales had the opportunity to leapfrog Czech Republic into second spot on Friday, when they travelled to Prague to face Jaroslav Silhavy‘s side, but the entertaining clash ended in a 2-2 draw.
Captain for the evening, Aaron Ramsey, gave Wales a 36th-minute lead with a composed finish, but the home side responded straight away through Jakub Pesek just over one minute later.
The visitors then gifted the home side the lead when Ramsey’s back-pass was missed by goalkeeper Danny Ward, who has been backed by Page to bounce back on Monday after that mistake.
Daniel James rescued a point for Wales when he levelled the scoreline, and despite Page believing Wales created enough chances to win the game, the Welsh squad will be pleased that they did not end up losing against the second-placed side.
The Dragons have a game in hand on Czech Republic and are currently level on points with Silhavy’s team, but with their last game of this group coming against highest-ranked side Belgium in November, the next two games with Estonia and Belarus are considered as must-win outings for Page’s side.
Depending on Czech Republic’s result against Belarus, also on Monday evening, Wales could enter next month’s final qualifiers in second spot, but three points against Estonia will ensure that Czech Republic can not open a points gap between the two sides.
Estonia World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
Estonia form (all competitions):
Wales World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
Wales form (all competitions):
Wales can most probably expect a similar lineup from Estonia to the team which earned a draw in Cardiff last month, with Haberli only making three changes from that side for their last outing against Belarus on Friday.
Henri Anier and Sorga combined for Estonia’s opening goal last time out, and they are expected to lead the line again on Monday, with the home side expected to opt for a 3-5-2 formation.
Joonas Tamm, Marten Kuusk and Karol Mets could make up that defensive unit, which could be seen as a back five at times with Vlasiy Sinyavskiy and Maksim Paskotsi dropping deeper in their wing-back roles.
Wales’ midfield four including Ramsey, Joe Allen, Joe Morrell and Ethan Ampadu is expected to remain the same on Monday, but Connor Roberts could come into the starting lineup after making a positive impact from the bench against Czech Republic.
Roberts had not featured for club nor country since picking up a groin injury in Wales’ Euro defeat against Denmark, so Page will have to assess whether he is fit enough to start after a long period on the sidelines.
James and Kieffer Moore are likely to continue as the furthest forward players for the away side, and after making his senior debut, Huddersfield Town attacker Sorba Thomas will be keen to feature again on Monday.
Estonia possible starting lineup:
Hein; Mets, Kuusk, Tamm; Sinyavskiy, Kait, Kreida, Vassiljev, Paskotsi; Sorga, Anier
Wales possible starting lineup:
Ward; Gunter, Mepham, Rodon, Roberts; Morell, Ampadu, Allen, Ramsey; James, Moore
We say: Estonia 0-2 Wales
Wales could do with increasing their goal difference to help catch Czech Republic in second place, but Wales do not tend to score more than two goals in a single game, only doing so once in their last 13 matches.
However, despite perhaps a lack of confidence in front of goal, Wales will want to rectify the two points which they dropped against Estonia in Cardiff last month and they should be able to nullify any threat from the home side while showing some quality in the attacking third.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk