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Kink issues warning to Ireland

Estonia midfielder Tarmo Kink has warned Ireland they will not have things all their own way as they attempt to book their place at the Euro 2012 finals.

Thursday's draw for the play-offs in Krakow paired the two sides together in the race for one of the four remaining places at next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Estonia have never before reached the play-off stage, and while their presence in the draw was cause enough for celebration, Kink and his team-mates are determined to continue their adventure. The 26-year-old Middlesbrough player said: "It's a huge tie for us."

He added: "We have already made history by making the play-offs for the first time, and now everyone in Estonia is hoping we can make our debut in the European Championships.

"It will be a tough tie against Ireland, but it would have been tough whoever we drew for these games. I know some of the Irish players and they will be just as determined to qualify as we are."

Estonia will host Giovanni Trapattoni's side in Tallinn on Friday, November 11, and will travel to Dublin's Aviva Stadium four days later. They finished second in Group C, 10 points adrift of winners Italy, but one clear of Serbia and seven better off than Northern Ireland.

Estonia beat Nigel Worthington's side home and away, winning 4-1 in Tallinn last month before a 2-1 victory at Windsor Park on Friday evening. Indeed, having beaten Slovenia 2-1 four days before their first victory over the Northern Irish, they head into the showdown with Ireland with three consecutive competitive victories under their belts.

Ireland beat the Estonians home and away during the qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup finals, but Trapattoni is not underestimating the threat they pose to his side's hopes of reaching the finals.

He said: "It is extremely positive for Ireland that we will play the first leg away. We should not underestimate our opposition, or any team, including Estonia. To have made it through to the play-off, they must have quality and mental fortitude.

"Our build-up to this stage of the competition has shown us the importance of organisation, attention to detail and self-belief. That will be vitally important to us as we prepare for these games in November."


From Belfast Telegraph