Finland edge out Portugal to seal place at Euro 2022

Fri, Feb 19 2021
Linda Sallstrom of Finland vies for the ball with the Republic of Ireland's Louise Quinn during their opening Euro 2017 qualifier at Tallaght Stadium on September 22nd, 2015.

A last-minute strike from Linda Sallstrom (pictured) sealed Finland’s passage to the Euros at the expense of Portugal. Credit: Eoin Smith (ETPhotos)

A last-minute strike from Linda Sallstrom sealed Finland’s passage to the European Championships as they saw off the challenge of Portugal to top Group E.

The Boreal Owls became the 11th side to qualify for next summer’s tournament in England after Spain confirmed their spot with a 13-0 win over Azerbaijan on Thursday.

They will join holders the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium, Germany, Iceland and the hosts for the finals, which had originally been scheduled for 2021.

The Finns came into the game knowing a draw would be enough to guarantee first place, while Portugal knew only a win would keep their slim hopes of topping the group alive.

Finland, playing at home, dominated the game with twice as many shots (10) as their opponents and four on target to Portugal’s one.

Natalia Kuikka and Sallstrom had chances for Finland but it took until the third minute of injury time for them to settle the tie, and the group, as Sallstrom lofted the ball past Patricia Morais.

Portugal could still qualify as one of the three best runners-up – Iceland have already taken one of the spots – but will need to beat Scotland by at least nine goals to do so.

A more likely outcome for Portugal is the play-offs, where they may face Ukraine, who pipped the Republic of Ireland to second, or Northern Ireland.   

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