Kevin Macdonald: ‘Finland, you are my bitch’

He didn’t really say that, but it’s difficult not to draw that conclusion after he 1) ensured Finland’s best midfielder was too scared to play and 2) scored the winning goal that gives Scotland a glimmer of hope when they should really be dead and buried. I missed large parts of the game, unfortunately, but the Finnish defence was sleeping for the winner, which came from a quickly taken free kick.

Kaspar Hämäläinen got a good write-up, with Koach Kanerva saying that he was ‘able to bring a lot of quality into our attacking play’. He got the goal as well, a nicely curled shot from just outside the area.

Kanerva was (rightly) peeved with the sloppy defending.

‘Both goals were a bit rubbish, coming from free kicks. We had agreed that we wouldn’t give away free kicks.’

Telegraph report

PA/Sportinglife report

Herald report

Group 6 standings:

Finland 6 5 0 1 9 5 15
Denmark 6 4 1 1 11 2 13
Scotland 5 3 1 1 11 4 10
Slovenia 6 1 1 4 3 10 4
Lithuania 7 0 1 6 2 15 1

The result means, I think, that Finland now need to win both their remaining games to be sure of qualification. If both Scotland and Finland finish on 19 points (only possible if Finland win and draw against Slovenia and Denmark), Scotland would probably come out on top due to their superior goal difference, goals scored and goals scored away from home. Denmark’s last two games are against Scotland and Finland, if they win both those games they will qualify. Scotland have games against Lithuania and Slovenia before their final tie away to Denmark on the 10th of September, the same day Finland travel to Slovenia.

Even if Finland don’t win the group, they could still go through to the play-offs as one of the 4 best runners-up. You can look at the permutations here. Croatia on 18 points seems to be the benchmark, so one more win could be enough, but would be more likely to lead to a thoroughly Finnish near-miss.

Regarding the senior team. they lost 2-1, played well in patches but went down under pressure.

‘We played well in the first half, but at the start of the second half Bulgaria got a goal that smelled offside, and built pressure after that,’ said Baxter.

On Roman Eremenko, Baxter was glad to have him in Sofia.

‘Roman was eager and wanted a lot of the ball. We were pleased with his game in this situation.’

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5 Responses

  1. Finland can qualificate easily even if they don´t win two last matches. If we win to Denmark, we will be first or second, and even lossing in Slovenia we must qualificate like one of four best runners up, because we will have only two loses given.

    Even with a lose agains Denmark we can get the qualification winning in Slovenia, because Denmark and Scotland must play between them, and never both teams will superate Finland, only a team maximum.

    In case of level of points, the fact is points against teams in level, for example if Denmark and Finland level points and the results were Denmark 0-1 Finland and Finland 1-Denmark 1, Finland have 4 points and Denmark 1 point. It´s said in UEFA.

    Matches will be played 6th and 10 of september, and senior team plays 10th september agains Germany, I supose that agains Denmark we can use one senior playar like Eeremenko or Hetemaj.

  2. Thanks for the date clarification, edited that now. All eyes on the juniors then, good.

    Finland *should* be okay even if they lose to Denmark, but I wouldn’t want that much pressure on the team in Ljubljana. If Scotland win all their remaining games and finish level with Finland, they go through on away goals. If Finland lose to Denmark, they almost certainlylose that match up too, and have to rely on being one of the top four runners up. of the teams currently in 2nd spot, their potential maximum points and current goal differences are:

    Croatia 18 pts, +4 (Finished their games)
    Turkey 22 +7
    Portugal 19 +8
    Russia 21 +7
    Norway 19 +3
    Slovakia 14 +1
    Serbia 17 +11
    Israel 19 +6
    Romania 20 +8

    So losing to Denmark and beating Slovenia, Finland would need 4 of the 7 that can get a higher total to fail to do so. Very possible, but by no means certain.

  3. Thanks Egan. Considering that Finland lose and win each match, and if we consider a lose = 3 lost points and a draw = 2 lost points, we will have 6 lose points. This is the situation of de possible competitors to the fours best second places….

    G1 : Croatia 6 lost points and have to receive Italy, and even winning them Italy will have 5 lost points and receive to Greece)

    G2: Czech Republic 4 L.P.(lost points) and have to travel Turkey and receive Ukraine…

    G3: Portugal 5 L.P and have to travel to England…

    G4: Russia 3 L.P and away and home matches against my Spain…

    G5: Norway 5 L.P and have to travel Netherlands and Switzerland…

    G6 Finland……

    G7: Slovakia 10 L.P. never will beat the 6 of Finland (in the supose case)…

    G8: Serbia 7 L.P the same….

    G9: Israel 5 and travel to Germany…

    G10: Romania 4 L.P but have to play agains Wales (3 L.P.) two matches…never both teams in the same time will beat the 6 lose points of Finland…

    In resume…. 9 posiible competitors…and 3 out of competition (Slovakia, Serbia, Romania/Wales)…its said, 6 really candidates…we can hope 3 of these facts…

    – Croatia no wining to Italy (and if teh win, Italy not win to Greece)

    – Cezch Republic lose in Turkey (or draw agains Turkey and Ukraine)

    -Portugal not win in England…

    – Russia losing and drawing tha matches against Spain…

    -Norway not winning in Netherland and Switzerland…

    -Israel not winning in Germany…

    You can see that with 6 lose points (the lose matach againts Scotland and other macth) we will almost 99% quialificated…

  4. Like I said before, it’s certainly possible but 1) if the pressure’s on in the last game they could mess it up, especially away from home against a squad that will be playing its last competitive game together, and 2) relying on other teams to mess up is not too clever.

    Beating Denmark also keeps Finland top, and gives them a chance of playing one of the runners-up in the play-offs. I think they will beat Denmark, so it’s all a bit academic, really.

  5. In agree with you in that. And it could be important to get the first place, altought if we get second, can take a team like Wales, probably first in their group(thay have merit…)

    Even there is a posibility of get the first place drawing the last two matches, if Denmar win home against Scotland (Finland 17 points, Denmark 17, Scotland maximum 16…and face to face better Finland than Denmark….)…

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