Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ireland v Estonia in Euro play-off's.

Estonia stand between Ireland and a place in the Euro 2012 finals following today's play-off draw in Krakow.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side will be away in the first leg on either Friday, 11 November/Saturday 12 November, with the return tie at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, 15 November.

Estonia have never reached the finals of a major tournament, and this is Tarmo Ruutli's side's first play-off appearance.

The other pairings see Turkey take on Croatia; the Czech Republic will play Montenegro, while Portugal will face Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Former Ireland striker John Aldridge has backed the team to beat Estonia and qualify for the finals.

Asked if he thought Trapattoni's side would go through, he told Sky Sports News: "Yes. We've got the greatest travelling fans and it would be great to see them on the road again."

"We travel better than we play at home, we've had better results away than we have had at home."

Aldridge added on his hopes for the first leg: "They will try to get a clean sheet, try to get a win which would set us up nicely."

Aldridge admitted the suspension of striker Kevin Doyle, still waiting to hear the length of his punishment after being sent off in the qualifier against Armenia on Tuesday which the Republic won 2-1, would be a blow to the team's chances.

However, he backed Shane Long to fill the breach.

"Shane Long has done really well when he has deputised for either Robbie (Keane) or Kevin so it's a great opportunity for him."

Ireland and Estonia have met twice before, in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

The Irish, then under Mick McCarthy`s management, won both games 2-0, with defender Richard Dunne, a scorer against Armenia, on target in each match.