International Friendly Preview: Estonia – Brazil

12 Aug 2009 01:51:47

The Selecao are expected to claim a comprehensive victory against
the inexperienced Northern Europeans…

Kick-off: Wednesday 12 August 2009, 13:15 ET, Tallinn, Estonia Chance
To Make History

Even if Estonia won’t be in South Africa next year, their high-profile
friendly with five-time world champions Brazil in Tallinn has caught
the imagination of the nation’s 1,340,000 inhabitants. The La Coq
Arena will be packed to the rafters, in the first ever clash between
the sides, and even if the locals will be hoping to witness vibrant
attacking football from Brazil, there’s no doubt that they will be
hoping their nation team can make some football history.

With only one win in six World Cup qualifiers, Estonia have shown that
they don’t have enough depth to compete with established football
nations. But after being humiliated 7-0 by Bosnia-Herzegovina and
losing 3-0 to Spain, they claimed a motivating draw against Turkey,
another draw with Armenia, and in their last qualifier against Armenia
again, in Tallinn in April, they claimed the three points. There’s
enough evidence to suggest that the team from the Baltic region are
improving, and with upcoming games in Turkey and Spain they will be
hoping to continue their impressive run of results. Ranked 112th in
the current FIFA World rankings, a victory would be too much to ask
against the no.1 ranked team in the world.

But in order not to slump to a heavy defeat against the Brazilians,
Estonia will have to concentrate on their game at all moments, even if
dealing with the likes of Kaka, Daniel Alves, Robinho and Luis Fabiano
seems an almost impossible task. With few internationally recognised
players, team spirit and motivation are the only two things that can
save Estonia some face.

Ready For Shooting Practise?

With their Confederations Cup success Brazil demonstrated to the world
that they are the team to beat heading into next year’s World Cup
in South Africa. After a relatively slow start to their qualifying
campaign Dunga has managed to find the ideal blend, and the Selecao
are leading the strong South American group in style, and are just a
game away from securing a World Cup berth. Brazil will take the game
against Estonia — which will be their first since the Confederations
Cup final — as light preparation ahead of the decisive World Cup
qualifier against arch-rivals Argentina in Rosario and the game with
Chile in Salvador, in September.

Since the Confederations Cup Brazil’s players have been on vacation,
and most have played little competitive football. The star of the
side — Kaka — has played two incomplete matches since joining
Real Madrid from AC Milan, but will return to his national team
colours. Despite facing weak opponents, Brazil will take the game
very seriously, not only because they are always pressured to win,
but because World Cup spots are up for grabs.

When taking history and current form into account, the Brazilians are
expected to run riot in Tallinn. Brazil have scored plenty of goals in
recent outings — including 14 goals in 5 matches of the Confederations
Cup — and are expected to continue to fire on all cylinders against
Estonia. Dunga knows that his team have loads of attacking flair,
but he still believes they have room for improvement. Even if Luis
Fabiano and Robinho are his desired attacking partnership, he will
surely present Diego Tardelli and Nilmar with opportunities.

TEAM NEWS Estonia Tarmo Ruutli will pretty much count with a full
strength side against the Brazilians. He will be delighted with the
news that team captain Raio Piiroja has recovered from injury just
in time and will be fit to lead the side in one of the most important
matches of their history.

Probable starting XI: Sergei Pareiko, Enar Jaager, Raio Piiroja,
Alo Barengrub, Ragnar Klavan, Martin Vunk, Aleksandr Dmitrijev,
Ats Purje, Konstantin Vassiljev, Kristen Viikmae and Serguei Zenjov.

Brazil The biggest news in the Brazil camp is that Dunga has left out
Ronaldinho once again, and will give newcomers Filipe Luis of Deportivo
La Coruna and Diego Tardelli of Atletico Mineiro opportunities to prove
their worth. Players like Nilmar and Ramires — who played brilliantly
in the Confederations Cup — are likely to come on in the second half.

Probable starting XI: Julio Cesar, Daniel Alves, Lucio, Juan,
Filipe Luis, Gilberto Silva, Elano, Felipe Melo, Kaka, Robinho and
Luis Fabiano.

PLAYERS TO WATCH Estonia – Ragnar Klavan The fact that Ragnar Klavan
plays his club football for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch First Division,
means that he has gained an advantage over his teammates in terms of
experience, because the majority of his teammates still play their
football in Europe’s lower leagues. The 23-year-old defender has
already made more than 50 appearances for his national team, and
will need to be at his very best in order to help his side avoid a
heavy defeat.

Brazil – Kaka The recent Real Madrid acquisition continues to be one
of the most exciting attacking midfielders in the world, and he is
hoping to turn on the style against Estonia. In recent months Kaka
has become the inspiration of the Selecao, and if he is switched
on there is no doubt Brazil will claim a comprehensive victory in
Tallinn. Kaka is likely to be the star of the show.

PREDICTION At the moment, Brazil are the strongest team in the world
and they are expected to cruise past an Estonia side that lacks
quality. But the Selecao can’t afford to be overconfident because
the Estonians will play their hearts out in order to cause a major
upset. If Estonia manage to claim a victory in Tallinn it will surely
go down in Estonian football history.

Estonia 0-3 Brazil Gregory Sica,