Finland continue their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup with a double header against Belarus in June. The first match is on the 7th at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, with the second match four days later in Gomel.
Finland's record so far is a narrow defeat at home to France, a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Georgia, and the 'Miracle of Gijon', a 1-1 draw in Spain.
Villa thwarted again
While the chances of qualifying are extremely slim, all points are crucial if Finland are to improve their seeding before the draw is made for Euro 2016. As of April, Finland would still be highly likely to be in pot 4 for the qualification groups.
Belarus warmed up for the matches with a 0-2 win over Estonia on Monday night.
The Finland squad is:
Goalkeepers: Niki Mäenpää (VVV Venlo), Lukas Hradecky (Esbjerg fB), Henri Sillanpää (VPS)
Defenders: Niklas Moisander (Ajax), Jukka Raitala (Heerenveen), Markus Halsti (Malmö FF) , Petri Pasanen (AGF Århus), Jarkko Hurme (TPS), Mikko Sumusalo (HJK), Niklas Moisander - banned for the first match (Ajax), Paulus Arajuuri (Kalmar FF), Jukka Raitala (SC Heerenveen), Kari Arkivuo (BK Häcken)
Midfielders: Tim Sparv (Greuther Fürth), Alexander Ring (HJK, on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach), Roman Eremenko (Rubin Kazan), Perparim Hetemaj (Chievo Verona), Kasper Hämäläinen (Lech Poznan), Erfan Zeneli, Teemu Tainio, Sebastian Mannström (all HJK), Mika Ojala (BK Häcken)
Forwards: Teemu Pukki (Schalke 04), Mikael Forssell (HJK), Timo Furuholm (Hallescher FC)
The Belarus squad is:
Goalkeepers: Sergei Veremko (Samara), Alyaksandr Hutar (Dynamo Minsk), Sergei Chernik (Neman Grodno)
Defenders: Oleg Veretilo, Vitay Trubilo (both Dynamo Minsk), Igor Shitov (Saransk), Alexander Martynovich (FC Krasnodar), Yegor Filipenko, Maxim Bordachev (both BATE Borisov), Dmitry Verkhovtsov (Samara)
Midfielders: Stanislav Dragun (Samara), Sergei Kislyak (Rubin Kazan), Yan Tigorev (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alexander Pavlov, Edgar Olekhnovich, Alexander Hleb, Pavel Nekhaichik (BATE Borisov), Anton Putilo (Volga Nizhny Novgorod), Pavel Sitko (Shakhter Soligorsk), Timofei Kalachev (Rostov)
Forwards: Renan Bressan (Alania Vladikavkaz), Vitaly Rodionov (BATE Borisov), Maxim Skavysh (Baltika Kaliningrad)
Former Gunner Hleb in action on Monday
I'll be attending the tie in Helsinki, hoping to see Finland's first win in the group. I'll be in Kuopio during the away tie, so if anyone can recommend a decent pub to watch it in, let me know...