National team

Estonia's national team was reformed in 1992 following the country's independence from the Soviet Union. They had previously competed internationally in the 1920s and 1930s and had tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the World Cups in 1934 and 1938. Their new history began with a 1-1 draw against Slovenia in Tallinn in June 1992. 

Since then, despite some occasional good results, they have not realistically threatened to qualify for any major competitions. They do take part in the biannual Baltic Cup with Latvia and Lithuania but have finished third in every competition since 1996, so not much fun. 

As you may have heard, Estonia qualified for the Euro 2012 play offs but lost to Ireland over two legs in November 2011. They beat off competition from Serbia and Slovenia to secure second place behind Italy in Group C, despite managing to lose to the Faroe Islands. Not a bad achievement for a country with a population of 1.3 million. 

Manager Tarmo Rüütli has an experienced squad with the majority of the squad playing their club football outside of Estonia as most players look to play at a higher level after showcasing their talents in the Meistriliiga.  The team is built around former Levadia midfielder Konstantin Vassiljev (now of Amkar Perm in Russia) who has won Estonian Footballer of the Year two years running and young striker Sergei Zenjov, currently playing at Karpaty Lviv in the Ukrainian Premier League, is a real prospect. They reached a record high of 47th in the FIFA World Rankings in March 2012. 

As an interesting aside, Estonia will soon become the first team to have played all 52 other UEFA international teams when they play France in a pre-Euro 2012 friendly in Le Mans.