Finland v Greece preview

This is all shamelessly ripped off from Jonas Von Wendt in Hufvudstadsbladet, but he’s generally pretty spot on, and it’s not like I’m in Cyprus to see for myself, is it?

Von Wendt has several hopes for tonight. Firstly, he wants Peter Enckelmann to do okay, because of the retirements in the goalkeeping department recently: without Mikko Kaven and Antti Niemi, one injury to Jääskeläinen will put Enckelman between the sticks.

He hopes Veli Lampi impresses, because Von Wendt believes the Zurich right back has the potential to play at a high international level. Finland will certainly need new defenders soon, and it’d be best if they weren’t completely green when they were thrown in. With everyone fit, there isn’t much space, but Pasanen is very capable of playing in the middle when necessary.

In midfield, Von Wendt mentions someone called ‘Mika Värynen’. Anyone know anything about this upcoming youngster? I’ve not heard a thing, but people say he’s on a contract with PSV. Must be another of these wunderkind who has gone abroad at a young age and hopes to get a game one day. Seriously though, Värynen needs to move somewhere where he’ll play (Sheffield Wednesday are after a midfielder, I heard), and could do with a good game tonight.

Von Wendt rather mischievously says he doesn’t want things to go too well tonight, as Roman Eremenko has a touch of Delhi Belly and Heikkinen will play instead. Eremenko is an ‘enormously better player’ than Heikkinen, who was ‘ordinary’ in training with imprecise passing. Sounds like Heikkinen.

I agree that I’d love to see Tainio and Eremenko in the middle, but at the same time Heikkinen might well be necessary in Moscow or Berlin. Von Wendt’s last line is ‘most of all I hope that it isn’t 0-0 tonight’, but with two massive sides in the world cup group, 0-0 draws away from home will be valuable. I’d hate to see them practice that tonight though….

Litmanen, Forssell, Johansson and Eremenko Jr will all play together at some point, and that’s some attacking line-up. For Finland, anyway. Baxter wants to see how they work together.

Some more revalatory tidbits: Baxter supports Aston Villa, Arsene Wenger is a ‘good friend’ of his, Litmanen is likely to play in the World Cup campaign and Hyypiä is less sure. It is very very annoying that my local pub has ‘hevi karaoke’ on tonight, so I will have to go into town or Tesoma to watch the game. It all looks quite interesting now.

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3 Responses

  1. Damn. Litmanen did what he could, but the defence, Väyrynen and Johansson just couldn’t do anything right.

  2. I think we did ok, mistakes were always going to happen with goalkeeper who has not played for ages and a few rookies thrown in. We created chances and should have scored more than that single goal and that’s the thing I worry about the most; Johansson IMO is past it and that leaves us with only one good striker Forssell.

  3. Yeah, and even Forssell doesn’t seem to get it going – probably something that could be fixed with changing the formation or the way we play a bit. Now he’s often quite lonely in the opposition half. He gets the ball in his feet a couple of times during a game, turns around towards the goal – and loses the ball to three opposition defenders. Heh. I hope Baxter will find a way to really support Forssell without letting our defence wide open.

    Sadly, however, Baxter is a manager, not a magician – just like Helsingin Sanomat wrote today.

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