Ragnar Klavan wants Estonia to mark their historic first meeting with England with the first goal of their UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign.
Steve McClaren's men visit Tallinn on Wednesday seeking to clamber back into contention for one of the top spots in Group E. Estonia, by contrast, are yet to pick up a point and have failed to score in their first six games. However, their performance merited more than a 1-0 home defeat by Croatia on Saturday, and influential midfielder Klavan is hopeful they can get a more tangible reward against England. "I hope we can play our own game, but we are definitely going to fight and try to score our first goal," he said.
The local press have been buzzing over David Beckham's imminent arrival and the possibility of his wife, Victoria, watching the match at the A Le Coq Arena. The players, however, are unconcerned. "He is a human being like anybody else," said left-back Dmitri Kruglov, who will probably line up against the Real Madrid CF star. Klavan, 21, conceded with a smile: "Beckham's arrival might trigger some additional interest in the match among Estonian girls."
Goalkeeper Mart Poom, who plays his club football in England with Watford FC, feels Jelle Goes' side will be fired up for the occasion, despite reports of tension between the players and the Estonian Football Association. "Obviously England are extremely strong on paper but we have taken confidence from our good performance against Croatia and can continue from there," said the former Portsmouth FC, Derby County FC, Sunderland AFC and Arsenal FC custodian.
That confidence may have been undermined somewhat by the news that 2006 Estonian Player of the Year, Raio Piiroja, will be suspended. Having been shown a yellow card against Israel in September, the 27-year-old defender was booked twice and duly sent off against Russia a month later. Although he subsequently served a one-match ban, the caution he received last Saturday has triggered another one-match suspension being his fourth yellow of the tournament. If the news came as a shock to Piiroja, at least his team-mates are planning another surprise for England.
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