Qualifying was a miserable affair for the Estonians (Picture: Getty)
Euro 2024 qualifying could scarcely have gone much worse for Estonia.
The Baltic nation, who are ranked 122nd in the world, finished rock bottom of Group F with zero wins, one draw and seven defeats from their eight fixtures.
The Estonian forwards clearly left their shooting boots at home, managing a paltry two goals in the whole of their qualifying campaign.
This was incredibly one goal less than perennial whipping boys San Marino mustered in qualifying, who scored in three successive games for the first time in their history.
Not that their defenders fared much better, shipping 22 goals in their games against Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Azerbaijan, which even included back-to-back 5-0 defeats along the way.
And yet, miraculously, Estonia could still find themselves in Germany for this summer’s Euro 20204, which gets underway on June 14.
This is all because of the fact they finished top of their Nations League 2022/23 League D group ahead of Malta and San Marino – and due to one specific technicality.
Estonia have been handed a Euro 2024 lifeline (Picture: Getty)
The Euro 2024 play-offs, which take place in March, would nominally see the 12 best-ranked teams from Leagues A, B and C who failed to advance in the traditional qualifying round compete in three single-legged semi-finals and a final, with the three pathway winners booking their spot in the tournament.
However, UEFA rules state that if less than four teams from the same league qualify for the play-offs, then the highest-placed nation from League D is awarded a spot in the play-offs.
Which happened to be Estonia, who picked up maximum points from their four Nations League games.
Standing between them and a spot at Euro 2024 is Poland, who they face in their semi-final in Warsaw on March 21.
Should they emerge victorious against the Poles, they will play Wales or Finland away from home in their Path A play-off final on March 26.
Estonia have never qualified for a major tournament before, but now they stand just two games away from making history.
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