The Estonian team arrived in Tartu aiming to win the Baltic Cup for the first time since 2014. According to striker Signy Aarna, who plays at his football club for Finnish side Åland United, winning the tournament has been the goal since the players got together as a team in January.
“Expectations are very high. At the beginning of the year we already set ourselves the goal of winning the Baltic Cup,” said Aarna.
Despite only winning two out of ten games in their recent World Cup qualifying campaign, Aarna is still confident the team has a strong chance of success. “I think these games are going to be quite close, because that’s our level, they’re our opponents. We just have to win them: that’s our game,” Aarna said.
Head coaches Anastassia Morkovkina and Sirje Roops enter the tournament with a highly motivated squad, which they say gives them a strong chance of victory.
“Everyone is happy to join the team, everyone wants to win,” Morkovkina said.
Goalkeeper Karika Kork is a player entering the tournament in good shape, having performed well last month for Swedish top-flight club IFK Kalmar.
“The standard is very high, there is no room for error, any error will be punished,” Kork said. “After all, this is where the best football in Europe is played, so you can really test yourself. All these games definitely develop you mentally and physically and show you the level you want to reach,” she said. added.
At last year’s Baltic Women’s Cup, the Estonian team lost on penalties in the semi-final against the Faroe Islands, before beating Latvia 4-1 in the bronze medal match.
This time around their first opponents are defending champions Lithuania, with head coach Morkovkina confident his side can reach the final.
“We will certainly have to defend well, attack with determination and keep good possession of the ball. If everything is balanced, things will be fine,” Morkovkina said.
The Women’s Baltic Cup 2022 semi-final match between Estonia and Lithuania will kick off at 7 p.m. at Tamme Stadium in Tartu. At 1 p.m. on the same day, Latvia face the Faroe Islands in the second semi-final at the Linnastaadion in Võru.
The final and the bronze medal game will take place on Sunday, October 9.
At 1 p.m., Lithuania will face either the Faroe Islands or Latvia at Võru Linnastaadion, in a match which, depending on Thursday’s results, will be either the final or the third-fourth place play-off.
On Sunday at 7 p.m., Tartu’s Tamme Stadium will host Estonia against Latvia or the Faroe Islands in the final game of the tournament, which again, depending on the results of Thursday’s games, could be the final or a battle for third place.
The Baltic Women’s Cup has been held every year since 1996, with a one-year gap in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Usually the tournament is contested between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, although this year the Faroe Islands have been invited to participate as a guest nation for the third time, having also competed in 2016 and 2021.
Estonia are the most successful team in the history of the competition, having won 10 Baltic Cups, with five victories each for Latvia and Lithuania.
Tickets for this year’s tournament include entry to all four matches, two in Tartu and two in Võru, and are available here.
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