Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Estonia play host to Czech Republic at Arena Lublin in what is expected to be a David vs Goliath clash. Estonia are after their first win since March 2019 when they defeated minnows Gibraltar in a friendly, but bookies see them as underdogs in Wednesday’s qualifier. Czech Republic, on the other hand, aim to build on back-to-back wins over Israel and Slovakia.
The Czechs did well to qualify for Euro 2021, and, no doubt, they want to kick off their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in style as well. Estonia are likely to serve as a cannon fodder for their rivals in Group E, and, taking everything into account, anything but a routine away win would be a major surprise. A man to keep an eye on in the away team will be Bayer Leverkusen attacker Patrik Schick, who has netted eight goals in the Bundesliga so far this season.
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 (Czech Republic):
Czech Republic national team is the natural successor of the Czechoslovakia side that dominated world football during the 20th century, winning one European Championship trophy and coming second at 1934 and 1962 World Cups. After the separation of the country in 1992, Czech Republic continued the proud tradition by qualifying for each of the next six European Championship finals, losing to Germany in the final of the 1996 tournament.
The Czechs also reached the last eight at the 2012 finals, but their World Cup record of late is pretty disappointing. Since separating from Slovakia, Czech Republic only qualified for one of five World Cup finals. The 1996 generation, featuring players like Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky and Patrik Berger, will forever remained etched in the fans’ memory, while the likes of Milan Baros, Jan Koller, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky are some of the other notable footballers.
Highly rated goalkeeper Petr Cech is the team’s most capped player, whereas towering forward Jan Koller tops the goalscoring charts with 55 strikes in 91 games.