Wembley to host football showdown

  • 2007-10-10
  • By Joel Alas

TALLINN - The Estonian national football team will play its historic first match in England in front of 90,000 fans at the famous Wembley Stadium on Oct. 13.
Estonia and England will face off at 5 p.m. Estonia time. Both teams have much at stake. England must win if it hopes to progress in the Euro cup qualifying tournament.
While Estonia doesn't have a hope of entering the Euro competition, it has national pride at stake. England beat Estonia 3-0 in a passionate game of football in Tallinn in June, though the tiny Baltic nation put up a brave fight against superstars such as David Beckham.
Estonian Football League media spokesman Mihkel Uiboleht said the game was significant.
"It's the first game in England, the first game at Wembley, and our first away game against England," Uiboleht said.

About 1700 Estonians will travel to England to watch the game, the biggest troupe of supporters since Estonia played Latvia in Riga in 2004, when 1200 people attended the away game.
But the Estonian squad will face a challenge if star goalkeeper Mart Poom is unable to play. Poom has been plagued by a back injury, and could be pulled from the field.
"We are doing everything we can to get him to play. It will be a last minute decision. He has been captain for a long time, and he is the most well known player in England. He deserves to have this game, but you can never expect an injury," Uiboleht said.

The number two goalkeeper, Pavel Londak, has also been ruled out after suffering a head injury in a Norwegian league game. Andres Oper, Estonia's other great hope, is also sidelined.
England isn't free of injuries, either. The team's captain, John Terry, remains in doubt, while star striker Michael Owen has been ruled fit to play but could be sidelined.