Showing posts with label Luxembourg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luxembourg. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Luxembourg 0-3 Finland match report

After the immense performance in Spain, the Finnish squad had to return to planet Earth to face Luxembourg in the Grand Duchy. An away friendly against a side ranked 151st in the world is a different challenge, and one that required concentration in front of 856 paying spectators.

Spending 90 minutes defending against Spain is a totally different challenge to being expected to dominate, and Finland did a professional job against enthusiastic but limited opposition. The midfield saw plenty of the ball, with time to play key passes and make runs into the box to support the Golden Retriever-esque Teemu Pukki, who covered plenty of ground and deserves a treat.

However it took 43 minutes to get on the scoresheet, Alex Ring scoring his first international goal having already hit the post from close range. At half-time, Niki Mäenpää was replaced by Lukas Hradecky, and Pukki was withdrawn in place of Mikael Forssell. 

 Alex Ring takes the plaudits for his goal

It took four minutes for the goal tally to double, Kasper Hämäläinen was fouled in the box, and Forssell stepped up to score his 29th international goal from the spot (now only two behind Jari Litmanen's all-time record). Forssell's first goal for Finland was also in a friendly in Luxembourg. Good omen?

Forssell puts Finland 2-0 up

Luxembourg were reduced to ten men after Chris Philipps was harshly sent off for a late challenge, and a rash of substitutions and silly bookings slowed the pace of the game. Njazi Kuqi came on as a late sub and did his best to rack up as many offsides as possible. The third goal came in the final minute of regulation time, Joona Toivio having a clear run at a corner and heading into the net.

Kari Arkivuo gets stuck in

And so that's Finland's international schedule finished until June. While this win was expected, the draw in Spain has raised expectations for the side. The double-header against Belarus is crucial, and Finland still have a realistic chance of finishing third in the group. FIFA ranking points should also be boosted by the two matches, and hopefully a rise of a handful of positions at least.

The match did get some wider coverage for a bold piece of skill from Hradecky, captured by friend of the blog Tuomas Sonck (better known as Tumpero).

 Lukas Hradecky shows some silky skills

There are also highlights now available, feel free to watch below, again via Tumpero.

Highlights of Luxembourg 0-3 Finland

Teemu Pukki chases a long ball