The Finns are yet to qualify for a European finals but that doesn’t mean they won’t be putting their best boot forward on the pitch against the Northern Irish
The group F clash between Finland and the Northern Irish is shaping up into quite a match, as Finnish football looks to progress as it makes team changes and the old guard begin to ebb away, and Ireland look to qualify for France. As it stands at the moment they’re well placed just one point off the top of the group but with all eyes on the last two group games can the Irish beat a Finnish team in the process of rejuvenation?
Finns Face O’Neill’s Team At Windsor
• Finns yet to qualify for tournament finals
• Teams have three wins each in seven clashes
• Mobile betting on Euro 2016 simple
Certainly perhaps on paper the Finnish chances look less than stellar, their qualification for France rather unlikely if only because they never have despite vying for a place on no fewer than twelve times before. Their record in international football regrettably rarely in keeping with the national desire to win and indeed it is for that reason that its popularity falls below that of ice hockey which is unusual for a European nation even one in the snowy north.
Of course the Finns have won the Ice Hockey World Championships twice, in 1995 and 2011, and have yet to reach the final stages of any major footballing competition, ever. Worse still their record against their neighbors is somewhat embarrassing on the football field, the Danes have been them 38 times in 59 games, the Swedes 66 out of 87 matches and the the Norwegians have as many victories against them as the team from Denmark, but it’s taken them two more matches to achieve it.
Fourth In Group F On Four Points
This desperately unimpressive record has left Finnish football languishing both in terms of their fourth place, on four points, in Group F of the Euro 2016 qualifications, and in terms of public support, however there are still those that like to bet on sports in Finland who are willing to wager some of their hard earned money on their team to win, and against the Irish at Windsor there’s always they’ll at least sneak a draw for their efforts.
The fabulous folks over at Come On! Sportsbook put the chances of that happening at a very reasonable 3.35 which might definitely be worth a punt given their records against each other are evenly split with three wins apiece in seven games, that seventh ending in a draw. Teemu Tainio might have hung his boots up after a 64 cap career for his country but the rest of the team are unlikely to retire as gracefully from the match up on the 29th of March, and the Irish know it.
“Our main focus is to win the game against Finland at home.” confirmed Micheal O’Neill. “Finland are a good team, they have been a little bit unfortunate in their four game and I think they’ll be disappointed to only have four points. It is well within their capability to have more.” Which is as close as to a confession of trepidation as you’ll get from a modern football manager, this one recalling; “I know manager Mixu Paatelainen – we played together in Scotland – so I’m expect a tough game.”
O’Neill Confident Of His Team
Naturally Northern Ireland would like to grab a win and go into their game against Romania in June carrying as much momentum as possible, as they move into the second half of the qualification season but their manager admits “The most important thing is we have the preparation right for the game against Finland,” reassuringly adding, “the players know what is required and they are fit.” It is a statement of optimism in the circumstances the bookies agree with.
Come On! Sportsbook for instance clearly reflect this determination on the part of the Irish putting their odds of victory at 2.10 over Finland’s rather understandably longer 3.20 chances, and if you want a closer match you’ll have to look to the interesting combination of Hungary and Greece to satisfy your more edgy instincts with the Hungarians just barely in at 2.45 to the Greeks 2.70 and with the match 3.20 to be a draw that might be one to bet on regardless of Finnish gambling laws, but the match against the Irish will be one all Finns will want to watch.