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Kerr confident Irish will be too strong for Estonia

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has already made it clear that he has little time for the opinions and criticisms of one of his predecessors in the Ireland job, Brian Kerr.

But if the Italian swallowed his pride and picked up the phone, a call to the 'Greener' could give him some insight into the question that will occupy Trap's mind for the next month: how to beat Estonia.

Because Kerr has already achieved that once in this qualifying campaign and came very close to doing it twice.

Despite the lingering bitterness between Kerr and the FAI hierarchy over his axing in 2005 and the subsequent debacle of the Staunton era which undermined any advances made in the Kerr years, the Dubliner still retains a strong link to his native land, repeatedly referring to "we" in interviews yesterday when he was talking about the Republic of Ireland and not the Faroe Islands.

Effective

And he feels that "we" can expect to come out on top in the play-off battle with Estonia. Kerr's side beat Estonia 2-0 at home in the mid-way point of the Euro 2012 campaign and could even have started off the group with a win in Tallinn, as the Faroes took the lead in the first half away to Estonia but were undone by two injury-time goals and lost.

"Ireland should have far too much quality, ability and experience to deal with them over two games," Kerr said. "They are an effective unit but I don't see them as being at the standard of the Irish team.

"They are well-organised, structured team who have a clear pattern of play. They don't play particularly defensively.

"They conceded 14 goals in the group and scored 15, that's how they play, in an open fashion and the same home and away.

"They got nine points away from home, they had three good wins in Serbia, Slovenia and in Belfast, so they're neither particularly convincing at home nor particularly offensive away from home, they play an even style.

"They have no brilliant players, and there are weakness. In defence and they have a lack of pace.

"But they are not a bad side. Estonia were good enough to go to Serbia and win, go to Slovenia - a team who were good at the last World Cup - and win, and win in Northern Ireland.

"You can't dismiss their technical ability, their players are not playing at top clubs, a lot of them are at very ordinary clubs in places like Denmark and Cyprus and Russia, a few in Holland.

"They're not well known but they play a technical, passing game - and they can play.

"They are a workmanlike side, they work hard for each other, they have good discipline and shape.

Deficit

"They have confidence in each other and have a good level of fitness, they generally come on strong late in games, if they need to pull back a deficit they can do it as we learned to our cost," he added, stressing that the Russian-based playmaker Konstantin Vassiljev was a key man.

"Vassiljev is a good player but the captain, (Ats) Purje, has a very good scoring record, he gets into the box well and he's scored 11 international goals. But they are an effective unit, they play as a unit, their crowd is passionate and get behind them for the home games."