Estonia will face Turkey, Malta and Latvia in Mersin, Turkey.
One of the big stars of this tournament will be Mait Patrail (24), Patrail is eight times Estonian handball player of the year and the top scorer of his team for years.
He has played at Kadetten Schaffhausen (Switzerland) and TBV Lemgo (Germany) and currently plays for Al-Sadd club in Doha, Qatar.
Next season the Estonian will return to Germany and will play for Hannover.
Before Phase 1 of the EHF EURO 2014 qualification in Turkey, Patrail spoke about the chances of his team qualifying for Phase 2 and spoke about handball in Estonia.
How do you rate the team’s chances of proceeding to Phase 2 of the EHF EURO 2014?
Patrail: We can’t say much about our opponents, it is all theory and practicality of our plans will be revealed once we step on the court.
You have to look at each game and each team being 50:50 before the match starts.
Which opponent is your main contender – Turkey thanks to the home advantage or rather the Latvians?
Patrail: We know Latvia very well, but of course, the home advantage could be a decisive factor for the Turkish team.
Turkey has improved a lot in the previous years.
Is there an element of brisance in the matches like Estonia against Latvia?
Patrail: Those duels have a certain element of brisance, but not like Serbia vs. Croatia in football or Germany vs. Netherlands in football. We are much calmer and more relaxed.
How has handball develop in Estonia in the last years?
Patrail: The level in our domestic league has stagnated, as the best players have left for abroad.
However, playing in foreign leagues means an improvement of the general level of performance, this brings the national team forward and we have profited from this.
We have quite young team, so we are looking to the future.
What would it mean for Estonia and handball in Estonia to proceed to Phase 2 of the EHF EURO 2014 qualification?
Mait Patrail: We are clearly sport number three in Estonia below football and hockey. I fear that nothing would change if we proceed – unfortunately!
In the qualification matches for the 2012 EHF EURO in Serbia you came quite close to qualify for Serbia. What do you need to have a real break-through?
Patrail: As I already mentioned, we have a young team and in some key positions we lack coolness and experience, this is key in deciding big games.
But we hope that we can solve this problem over time.
Do you see your role in the team as a solo entertainer?
Patrail: No! Handball is a team sport with six field players, one goalkeeper, seven players on the bench, a head coach, an assistant coach and even more background staff.
Sometimes some players attract more attention but at the end of the day you cannot do anything in handball without your teammates.
How is your international career perceived in Estonia?
Patrail: I am 24 years old now and I had been awarded best Estonian handball player of the year several times. I am aware that Estonian handball fans follow my career – and apparently they enjoy doing following it.