Estonia vs Hungary – Preview

 

ESTONIA VS HUNGARY

A LE. COQ ARENA

KICK OFF: 20:30 (CET)

 

Hungary travel to Tallinn on Friday for their first real away test in this new World Cup qualifying campaign.

Until their last two games Estonia, who are ranked 69th in the FIFA world rankings, had been in the best form in their entire footballing history. A 2nd place finish alongside a tough group in Euro 2012 qualifying saw Estonia qualify for the playoffs for the first time, something Hungary have been unable to do since 1997.

They were to be defeated by Ireland, but impressive victory’s over Serbia, Slovenia and Northern Ireland in the group have shown that the Estonians aren’t a team to be taken likely. Even though they have started this qualification period with back-to-back losses against Romania and Turkey, Hungary would be foolish to underestimate this hard-working, organised side.

As for the Magyars, they also need to pick themselves up after a disappointing 4-1 loss at home to Holland last time out. A lot is expected of this team back in Hungary, and anything less than a second place finish in the group could spell the end for Sandor Egervari’s reign.

 

Hungary

Hungary go into the tie with somewhat of an injury crisis with Vladimir Koman, Gergely Rudolf, Peter Halmosi, Tamas Priskin and Zsolt Laczko all ruled out.

Fortunately, the return of Vilmos Vanczak came just at the right time, so the Magyars won’t be too disorganised at the back.

Egervari is likely to opt for a 4-4-2 with Adam Bogdan continuing in goal. The Bolton stopper has now secured himself the number one shirt for Hungary, and after continued impressive performances in the Championship and at international level, he could be a sure starter for many years to come.

Jozsef Varga will again fill in at right back. The Debrecen midfielder has grown into the role on the right side of defence, and his continued improvement has brought plaudits from the management. The familiar centre pairing of Zsolt Korcsmar and Roland Juhasz will look to improve their partnerhip, while Vanczak will start on the left.

The Hungary midfield has little depth beyond the first XI, but fortunately, the first choice midfield should all be available for tonight. Zoltan Gera will start on the right, and for Hungary, the international break has come at the right time as the Magyar captain is in superb form for club side West Brom. In the middle we’re likely to see the pairing of Zaragoza’s Adam Pinter and Stuttgart’s Tamas Hajnal – with Pinter sitting and Hajnal being allowed to roam. Both haven’t been in great form recently, with Pinter only just coming back from injury and Hajnal struggling to make the VFB starting eleven so don’t be suprised if DVTK’s, Akos Elek gets the nod. Balazs Dzsudzsak will start on the left, and he’ll be the go to man for Hungary.

If Egervari starts with two up front Adam Szalai and Imre Szabics will probably be the pairing. Szalai has been in good form for Mainz recently with 3 goals in his last 5 games. Unfortunately, Imre Szabics has been struggling for Sturm Graz but the former Stuttgart striker will always be a threat in front of goal.

The side isn’t Hungary at their strongest, but it’s not far off. Some players aren’t on form, however Hungary’s two widemen are sure to be a danger after putting in some very impressive performances recently for their club sides. Adam Szalai will have to lead the line well, against a physical and organised Estonian defence.

 

Estonia

Estonia started the last two game’s with completely different formations of 5-3-2 and 4-4-2, but we’re likely to see the latter  be deployed tonight.

They have an experienced squad with a high percentage of players having over 50 caps at international level. The back four of Rahn, Klavan, Jaager and Kruglov have an incredible 315 appearances between them and the key to their success in the last qualfying campaign was being strong in defence.

Hungarian fans will know livewire Tarmo Kink in midfield who is likely to be Estonia’s main threat. The former Gyor man has a thunderous left foot, and is dangerous when left one on one against a defender. Joel Lindpere and Konstantin Vassiljev sum up their hard-working style and the two midfielders won’t stop running.

Up front the 137-capped Andres Oper will bring a wealth of experience, and he’ll be a crucial outball for Estonia. He’s likely to start alongside Motherwell striker, Henrik Ojamaa.

Even though Hungary are favourites for tonight’s game, it’s far from unthinkable for Estonia to pull off an upset. The minnows have had some incredible performances in recent years, and their fans are optimistic of another good qualification campaign.

For the Magyars, anything less than a victory will be seen as a nightmare, especially considering they have much tougher tests in Romania and Turkey to come.

 

Predictions

Tomasz Mortimer – I can see the home side exploding out the traps early and catching Hungary off guard. I think they’ll grab an early goal, and try to hold on to their lead. Hungary will equalise, but they won’t grab the three ponts – Estonia 1-1 Hungary

 

Gaby Kovács – Videoton’s recent shock result in the Europa League has proved that anything is possible in Hungarian football and although not necessarily a shock, I predict Hungary to win – Estonia 0-2 Hungary

 

Fraz – I think Hungary will dominate the match and win comfortably – Estonia 0-4 Hungary

 

Current Standings

World Cup Qualifying: Group D

#   Team MP W D L F A D P Last 5 matches
1 Romania 2 2 0 0 6 0 +6 6 WW
2 Netherlands 2 2 0 0 6 1 +5 6 WW
3 Hungary 2 1 0 1 6 4 +2 3 LW
4 Turkey 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1 3 WL
5 Estonia 2 0 0 2 0 5 -5 0 LL
6 Andorra 2 0 0 2 0 9 -9 0 LL

 

Previous Meetings

2004.12.02 Hungary – Estonia 5 : 0 Kings Cup
2003.11.19 Hungary – Estonia 0 : 1 Friendly
1938.06.22 Estonia – Hungary 2 : 3 Unofficial
1934.08.10 Estonia – Hungary 2 : 2 Unofficial

 

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