UEFA Nations League Preview: Finland - v - Republic of Ireland

Wed, Oct 14 2020

FINLAND

Finland will be looking to back up their one-nil win over the Republic of Ireland last month when they welcome the Boys in Green to Helsinki on Wednesday evening (kick-off is at 5pm).

Finland come into the game following a 2-0 win at home to Bulgaria last time out, but they will be aware that Stephen Kenny’s side are a much-improved outfit to that of last month.

“Ireland played a good game against Wales and certainly wants to open their winning account in the Nations League,” Finnish boss Kanerva said.

“Head coach Stephen Kenny is definitely wondering if we need to change anything compared to our previous encounter. 

“The flat game was in Dublin and the flat will probably be the game tomorrow as well. 

“If we can play at the same level or even improve a little, then we have a good chance of winning.”

Finland have no injury doubts for their clash against the Boys in Green – something that Ireland would love to have themselves.

“Ireland has had quite a bit of roulette with the players due to the regulations and yet five changes were made to the team at the last minute.

“I don't think the omissions affect the style of play in Ireland. Perhaps the biggest effect is that their opening line-up is now harder to predict.”

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

After impressing for large spells in their scoreless draw against Finland – the Republic of Ireland travel to Finland in the UEFA Nations League.

Ireland have yet to win a game in the tournament since its inception – and manager Stephen Kenny is well aware of the challenge that Finland pose to his side.

“Finland are a very very good team,” Kenny said in his press conference. “They proved that by getting to the European Championships.

“I think they're nearly like a club team, in that they're very certain, very consistent in their selection, and all the players are very certain of their roles in the team.

“They can play in different ways, different tactical systems. Finland have maximized their resources very, very well”, he added. 

Ireland and Sheffield United full-back Enda Stevens added:  “We're playing to win... it's a results business, and we all know that, we need to go out there and put on a good performance because we didn't really do ourselves any favours in the home game.

“I know it was preseason time [last month], but we want to amend that result and go on there and beat a strong Finland team.”

Ireland will be without James McClean and James McCarthy tomorrow evening due to suspension and injury.

Meanwhile, Jason Knight, Dara O’Shea, Ryan Manning, Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah have all been called up in recent days.

However, the quintet of Alan Browne, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and John Egan are out.

Referee: Lionel Tschudi (Switzerland).

 

MATCH STATS

Ireland have only played once in Helsinki before, drawing 1-1 in a 1949 friendly. This win came just a month after they defeated them 3-0 at home.

Finland have only conceded once in their UEFA Nations League campaign – with their sole goal conceded coming in their late defeat versus Wales.

Ireland on the other hand have only scored once in their opening two games.

BETTING

Finland 7/5; Draw 15/8; Republic of Ireland 23/10.

PREDICTION

Finland 1 - 2 Republic of Ireland

 

Finland

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

 

Republic of Ireland

Injured: James McCarthy, David McGoldrick, Seamus Coleman, Harry Arter.

Doubtful: None.

Unavailable: John Egan, Alan Browne, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda.

Suspended: James McClean.