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Pareiko pleads for calm as Estonia meet Ireland

Published: Wednesday 9 November 2011, 10.10CET
No1 Sergei Pareiko wishes to put the excitement of Estonia's unexpected runners-up place in Group C behind him as the play-offs beckon, noting: "The more normally we prepare, the better."
by Mikhail Malkin
from Tallinn
Pareiko pleads for calm as Estonia meet Ireland
Sergei Pareiko in action for Wisła Kraków ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

EstoniaRepublic of Ireland

Goals scored16
 
20
Total attempts165
 
120
Attempts on target61
 
57
Attempts off target86
 
48
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork0
1
Corners56
 
42
Offsides20
 
27
Yellow cards28
 
19
Red Cards3
 
1
Fouls committed185
 
176
Fouls suffered134
 
160
 
Published: Wednesday 9 November 2011, 10.10CET

Pareiko pleads for calm as Estonia meet Ireland

No1 Sergei Pareiko wishes to put the excitement of Estonia's unexpected runners-up place in Group C behind him as the play-offs beckon, noting: "The more normally we prepare, the better."

The Republic of Ireland represent a major obstacle for Estonia in the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs, but goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko hopes his side can make use of the chinks in Giovanni Trapattoni's men's armour.

These two matches are special ones. Skill is an important issue, but character and luck will be big factors as well
Sergei Pareiko

Unexpected qualifying Group C runners-up, Estonia are two fixtures from next summer's finals, yet are up against an Ireland squad still smarting from narrowly missing out on the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the final hurdle. Starting in Tallinn on Friday and concluding in Dublin on Tuesday, something will have to give.

"I played against some Irish players recently so I know a bit about them," said Pareiko, who took on Ireland's Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff in Wisła Kraków's recent UEFA Europa League games against Fulham FC. "The ability of their players is obvious. These two matches are special ones. Skill is an important issue, but character and luck will be big factors as well.

"Some people have said that short passing and quick football could be a good weapon against the Republic of Ireland," added Pareiko. "In their games against Russia and Armenia it was evident that the Irish sometimes can't handle fast, skilful players."

Tarmo Rüütli's team upset the odds in Group C by finishing above 2010 World Cup contenders Serbia, whom they defeated 3-1 in Belgrade – a superb omen for Pareiko, who said: "Serbia were pretty good at the last World Cup where they beat Germany. Ireland didn't qualify for the last world or European championship. However, they did finish second in a very tough group."

Unconcerned that some of his team-mates are short on first-team football – "this can be a plus" – Wisła's 34-year-old No1 even put a positive spin on his club's weekend league defeat at neighbours MKS Cracovia Kraków, which cost coach Robert Maaskant his job. "That's football," he said. "Success always comes after disappointment."

With no snow expected in Tallinn for Friday's play-off opener, Pareiko hopes Estonia can put the euphoria of their Group C achievements behind them, mindful that success has a habit of creating pressure. "It could affect us in a negative way," he said. "The more normally we prepare, the better. This is the secret of success – stay calm before the games and show what we can do on the pitch."

Last updated: 09/11/11 18.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1714804.html#pareiko+calls+calm

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