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Oct 8, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
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Preview: Estonia vs. Belarus - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Estonia vs. Belarus - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Estonia and Belarus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The bottom two sides in World Cup qualifying Group E face off at A. Le Coq Arena on Friday as Estonia play host to Belarus.

Estonia picked up an impressive point away at Wales last month, but they still trail Belarus by two points in the battle to avoid fifth place.

Match preview

While Estonia and Belarus can still technically finish in the top two of the group, neither nation has any realistic ambitions of doing so over the next five weeks.

The European minnows are instead in a two-way battle to dodge bottom place, and the outcome of this game may well determine which side props up Group E.

Estonia had goalkeeper Karl Hein to thank for their unlikely point at the Cardiff City Stadium last month as they picked up their first point in four attempts.

Belarus have three points on the board, meanwhile, thanks to their 4-2 win in the reverse meeting with Estonia seven months ago.

Since then, Belarus have lost four successive qualifying matches, conceding 13 goals and scoring just twice - eight of those goals against coming in one game against Belgium.

Taking friendlies into account, it is five defeats on the spin for Georgi Kondratiev's men, having also gone down 2-1 to Azerbaijan in June.

As for Estonia, they won three games on the spin earlier this year en route to lifting the Baltic Cup. Since then, though, they have lost two and drawn one.

Still, Thomas Haberli will be pleased with his side's overall results and performances since taking charge in January.

Estonia have a game in hand on Belarus, albeit at Belgium, and will feel confident of overtaking their opponents by the time the curtain comes down on another qualifying campaign.

Estonia World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Estonia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

Belarus World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Belarus form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Estonia have been dealt a blow as Rauno Sappinen misses out on the squad for games with Belarus and Wales with an elbow injury.

Markus Poom, who was introduced late on in Estonia's last match, is likely to get the nod up top in Sappinen's place.

Joonas Tamm is another contender to come into the side in defence.

Belarus boss Kondratiev does not have the deepest of squads to choose from, meanwhile, and he may select a similar XI to the one used against Belgium last time out.

Max Ebong and Pavel Sedko are among those pushing for recalls to the starting lineup on the back of that narrow 1-0 loss.

Estonia possible starting lineup:
Hein, Paskotsi, Mets, Tamm, Pikk, Kait, Vassiljev, Sinyavskiy, Poom, Sorga, Anier

Belarus possible starting lineup:
Pavlyuchenko, Zolotov, Politevich, Shvetsov, Pechenin, Ebong, Sedko, Yablonski, Shevchenko, Lisakovich, Klimovich

We say: Estonia 2-1 Belarus

Belarus beat Estonia in the reverse fixture, but since then it is Friday's hosts who have picked up the better results - not least a draw away to Wales in September.

Kondratiev's side have lost five in a row, losing by an aggregate 15-3 scoreline, and we can see them falling to yet another loss here to drop to the bottom of Group E.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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