Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Estonia and Malta go head to head at A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn in the Nations League D group 2. The Estonians aim to keep their 100% record intact, and the bookies see them as favourites to win Friday’s clash. Experienced forward Henri Anier is pushing for a start after scoring a late winner as a substitute in a 2-1 win over Malta at Ta’Qali National Stadium while Levadia striker Robert Kirss should keep his place up front.
The visitors, on the other hand, aim to get their revenge on Estonia, but given the current atmosphere in the home team’s dressing room, we predict that Devis Mangia’s men will return to La Valetta empty-handed. One of the men to watch in the away side will be Farense defender, who helped Malta beat San Marino in the last group game.
Highlighted Player (Ragnar Klavan):
Ragnar Klavan is a defender who started his senior career at Elva. After playing for Tulevik an Flora between 2002 and 2005, the Estonian footballer joined Heracles Almelo on 4 August, 2005. Klavan made his debut for Heracles five days later and he scored his first goal for the club on 31 December, 2005, in a 2-2 draw with Vitesse.
In 2009 he was sent on loan to AZ Alkmaar and he signed a permanent deal with the Dutch outfit on 4 February, 2009. He played 12 games for AZ in the 2008/2009 season and it has to be noted that the Cheeseheads won the national championship that season. He played for AZ Alkmaar until 2 July, 2012 when he decided to move to Germany.
The Estonian defender signed a two-year deal with Augsburg and he made no less than 125 appearances for the German club between 2012 and 2016. Klavan impressed in the 2015/2016 Bundesliga campaign and, as a result, Liverpool chiefs decided to sign him on 20 July, 2016. He made his Estonia debut on 3 July, 2013 against fellow Baltic side Lithuania.
Highlighted Team (Malta):
Back in 1957 Malta played their first international match. The Falcons faced Austria in their debut on the international stage and they suffered a 3-2 loss to Das Team in front of home fans in Gzira. The Malta Football Association joined FIFA in 1959, while joining UEFA the following year and they have been competing in the qualifiers for the major tournaments since 1962.
The Knights of Malta have yet to participate at the finals of the showpiece tournaments, but they often claim major scalps in the qualifying matches. Malta recorded their biggest win (7-1) against Liechtenstein on March 26, 2008, but a win over Hungary in the Euro 2008 qualifiers is considered their biggest achievement.
Speaking of friendly games, it has to be noted that Malta did remarkably well to beat star-studded Ukraine in Graz on June 6, 2017, with Zach Muscat scoring the winner for the minnows. In December 1983 the Maltese suffered their heaviest loss as they were crushed by Spain 12-1 in Seville.