Finland vs Kazakhstan preview

Okay, so he’s going with Heikkinen in the middle. Fair enough, I can handle that, game’s about opinions and so on, and of course he’s playing with Roman Eremenko so there should probably be someone ‘harder’ there to look after him.

The team will be:

Jussi Jääskeläinen.

Petri Pasanen, Hannu Tihinen, Sami Hyypiä, Toni Kallio

Teemu Tainio, Markus Heikkinen, Roman Eremenko, Joonas Kolkka

Alexei Eremenko jr., Jonatan Johansson

One of the things Hodgson was saying was that many of the players played on Sunday and that as a result they’ve only had one training session, which makes preparation a bit difficult. Later on in the press conference somebody asked about Kallio not getting games for Young Boys Bern and Hodgson said that yes, it was terrible when some players are not playing for their clubs but this is what happens when young men go abroad.

If they lose it’ll take a miracle to qualify. Personally I’m not sure that delaying elimination for as long as possible is the best long term strategy for Finland, but that is the mandate Hodgson has been given and that is what he has to do. It’s clear that after he goes a new coach is needed to bring on the youngsters who are showing some promise, but Hodgson cannot take risks at this point. He has to go with the old heads or risk the wrath of his employers who recognise that this is the last chance saloon for Hyypia and Litmanen.

This is why Hodgson picks Niemi not Petrescu, and Wiss not Savolainen. The guys he has picked are better, but they will be marginal figures. Hodgson is against ‘dismantling’ the current side until qualification is an impossibility, but maybe then he will be in a new job anyway.

If results go well tomorrow then Finland will go into the Serbia match with a fighting chance. There are tickets available and kickoff is 7pm at Ratina.

I had a chat with Mikko Kavén after the press conference. He’s a fan of Tammela.

‘Two years ago I thought it was a mistake for TamU to move to Ratina, but now I think that TamU have to play there,’ said the former Motherwell keeper. ‘Of course the atmosphere on Sunday was electric and you will never get that when people are 100 metres from the pitch, but there are other things to consider.’

‘The facilities at Ratina are better. The grass, the VIP facilities, the changing rooms – for all these reasons a club like tamU needs to play at a stadium with better infrastructure than Tammela. One thing is clear though, after the last couple of weeks. We need a football stadium in Tampere. There are plans for Tammela I know, but money is the problem.’

I beg to differ here. I think bringing Tammela up to scratch, with a new VIP and changing room block next to the main stand, and a levelled and relaid pitch, wouldn’t cost too much. If the new facilities helped TamU avoid losses like last season, they might pay for themselves in less than 5 years. It would certainly increase support for TamU, and that has to be an immediate aim for the club.

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