Finland in Russia: preview

The big question today is who is going to play on the left side of defence for Finland. Toni Kallio is suspended, and the choice to replace him is between Veli Lampi and Niklas Moisander. Both are in good form, but Lampi has played for Finland more recently, against Israel and Germany, and looks likely to get the nod.

“In training we lined up with me on the right, Moisander on the left, and Tihinen and Hyypiä in the middle,” Lampi told HBL. “But Petri pasanen didn’t train at all, he got a slight knock on Saturday. It’s difficult to say how Baxter and Co will reason, but if I get the chance then naturally I’ll be enormously hungry to play.”

The options are that Pasanen continues on the right and Moisander or Lampi fills in for Kallio on the left, that Pasanen moves to the left (where he playes for Werder Bremen) and Lampi slots in on the right, or that pasanen plays on the left and Toni Kuivasto goes to right back. The last one is pretty unlikely, I think.

Arja Paananen has been busy in St Petersburg for Ilta Sanomat, and she tells us that Arsharvin still wants to go to England and that Konstantin Zyrianov only knows the names of two Finnish players: Jari Litmanen and Joonas Kolkka. Kolkka is now fit to play after missing out against Azerbaijan, so it could be a much changed team against Russia.


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