Estonia vs. Netherlands: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
The return of World Cup qualifying brings a sense of urgency to national teams around the globe, as the race to Brazil enters its final stages. The matchup between Estonia and the Netherlands showcases teams on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Estonia needs a late charge in Group D of UEFA qualifying after earning just six points in its first six matches. The Sinisargid have played well defensively, but have scored just three goals, putting their World Cup dream in obvious peril.
The Oranje are in significantly better shape. They secured victories in all six of their matches so far and will claim the group's top spot, barring a completely meltdown. That will ensure the Dutch side of a direct trip to Brazil without needing to survive the playoff round.
What's your prediction for the qualifier?
Knowing that, let's examine all the key information for the qualifying clash, followed by a look at the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia
When: Friday, Sept. 6, at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. BST)
Watch: Al Jazeera Sport +2 and ESPN3.com (live stream only in U.S.)
Odds: Netherlands -550, Estonia +1,200, Draw +500 (via Bovada)
Top Storyline: Will the Netherlands continue its dominant form?
The Dutch squad reach the final of the 2010 World Cup, losing to Spain on a late goal by Andres Iniesta. As the next edition of the marquee international tournament begins to come into focus, the team already looks prepared for another deep run next summer.
Qualifying has been a breeze. Not only have the Oranje won all six matches, but they have scored 20 goals while allowing just two in the process. Even without an elite level of competition, that's an extremely impressive stretch. It's not easy to dominate like they have so far, particularly on the road.
Of course, the task becomes easier when a side has reliable veteran stars like Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to headline the attack. The dynamic duo is supported by a strong overall squad with a good mix of established players and rising stars.
The biggest question mark heading into the latest set of qualifiers is the back line. The group called up lacks experience. Ron Vlaar leads the way with just 16 appearances at the international level. The rest of the defenders have 10 or less.
Luckily for the Oranje, they are going up against the two worst attacking teams in the group in Estonia and Andorra, which means the great qualifying run should continue, despite the patchwork back line.
The situation for Estonia is far from ideal. It needs to push for three points to make any type of late dash toward second place. Yet, an overly aggressive approach will come back to haunt the Sinisargid against the more talented Netherlands squad.
Since the Oranje know Konstantin Vassiljev, Sergei Zenjov and Co. will be desperate, expect them to play with patience and attempt to control possession in the early going. Eventually, the underdogs will have to push even further forward, and that's when the Dutch side can take advantage.
All told, the Netherlands should be in firm control of the match by halftime, and that will allow the team to cruise to victory in the second half.
Netherlands 2, Estonia 0
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