19-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein plays a key role for his national side, starting the competitive matches whenever he’s available.
Last month, Hein kept a clean sheet against Wales to earn Estonia their first point of the World Cup qualification group stage. That was his 10th international appearance and earned him widespread praise afterwards.
But for Estonia to have any chance at making the World Cup next year, they needed to start putting some wins together. So Hein keeping another clean sheet on Friday was vital.
Estonia were playing Belarus, and they had the chance to leapfrog their opponents in the group with a win. Hein made a couple of saves in a 2-0 victory to secure the three points.
Estonia’s hopes are still hanging by a thread. It’s already mathematically impossible for them to catch Belgium and top the group, but they’re only four points off the Czech Republic and Wales and still to play both of them.
Finishing second would be enough for a play-off spot.
It would be a major shock for Hein’s side to beat either, let alone both, and they’d probably need at least a point against Belgium as well. But at least their win on Friday has given them a sliver of hope.
Hein recently extended his contract with Arsenal, and he was pictured in the first-team squad photo. We could well see more of him in the coming years.