Cyprus host Estonia in the second leg of the Nations League C relegation playoffs, with the tie finely poised after a 0-0 draw in the first leg on Thursday.
The two countries are just one place apart in the FIFA rankings – Cyprus are 105th and Estonia are 106th – and that showed in a tight contest in Tallinn.
Cyprus finished bottom of Group 1 in Nations League C – winning just once in six matches – which cost Belgian manager Johan Walem his job.
His successor Nikos Kostenoglou of Greece has just one victory in his 13 matches in charge and his side are currently winless in 10 matches, losing eight of those.
However, Cyprus have only lost two of their last six home games, which may give them some hope that they can stay in League C.
In last year’s World Cup qualifying campaign, Kostenoglou’s team finished fifth out of six in their group, ahead of bottom side Malta only on goal difference.
Estonia also have a different manager in charge from the regular Nations League campaign, as Thomas Haberli succeeded Karel Voolaid after they failed to win any of their six group matches and finished bottom of Group 1 in League C.
Haberli, a Swiss native, has won only four of his 14 matches and Thursday’s first leg draw ended a run of three successive defeats.
In World Cup qualifying, Estonia finished fourth out of five in Wales’ group, drawing 0-0 in Cardiff as they picked up four points from eight matches.
Four of the last six meetings between these nations have ended level (with Estonia winning the other two), so this tie has the potential to go all the way to penalties.
Cyprus Nations League form:
Cyprus form (all competitions):
Estonia Nations League form:
Estonia form (all competitions):
We say: Cyprus 2-1 Estonia
It really is difficult to separate these two sides as both the world rankings and Thursday’s first leg show. We think it could go all the way to extra time and possibly even penalties, but are backing Cyprus to make their home advantage count and relegate Estonia.