Euro Betting: Finland v Russia 16th June
Group Stage | Group B | St Petersburg
Their Euros So Far
The Euros have reached the point where each team has played their opening games, and it’s now either a case of more of the same, or a desperate scramble for those vital qualifying points. For this game, Finland have relieved some pressure, defeating Denmark in a game understandably overshadowed by the awful collapse and cardiac arrest of Danish star Christian Eriksen.
That game was interrupted by the emergency, and was restarted several hours later, with Finland nabbing the one goal win and their goalkeeper saving a penalty in an expected flat and understated encounter. Naturally, for both sides, the points were not as vital as the later news that Eriksen was now stable.
Nonetheless, praise and congratulations must still be given to Finland for winning their first ever game at their first ever Euro. A huge international milestone.
Their next challenge comes in the form of a Russian side who were heavily and convincingly beaten 3-0 by the might of Belgium. As we stated in the blog for Russia’s opener, there is a concern that their squad’s age will be the problem for them during the Euros, and the spright and dynamism of the Belgians definitely highlighted the issue further.
However, with the second game now feeling like a ‘must-win’ encounter, and against a Finnish side who are at their maiden Euro tournament, they will be hoping their experienced veterans like Artem Dzyuba, who scored 9 goals in qualifying, can help secure the points. The fact they are playing at home is also a plus point for the Russians.
There are no new injury concerns for either side, with essentially the same bunch of players available for this game as the first.
The history of this fixture has not been kind to the Fins. Russia have not lost to Finland for more than a century, with that sole defeat being at the 1912 Olympics, when Finland ran out 2-1 winners. Although maybe such a stat should be marked with an asterisk, as a number of those Russian victories fixtures did come when Russia was known as the Soviet Union, and actually as ‘Russia’, since becoming an independent nation in 1992, it is a case of winning all four games, with 15 goals scored.
More recently and relevantly, for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Guus Hiddink’s Russia masterminded two 3-0 victories against their Nordic neighbours, helping them reach the finals. Yet, the general feeling right now is two teams heading in opposite directions with the Fins very much on the up.
Will Finland finally get the Russian monkey off their back? Or will the Eastern giants continue their stronghold on the Fins?