After a lot of tut-tutting over Craig Bellamy’s idiotic comments, the Finnish squad is looking a little bit threadbare as they prepare for the vitally important friendly against Norway. Lillestrom keeper Otto Fredriksson will watch the game from the sidelines so as to avoid aggravating a troublesome knee. Niklas Moisander has decided he doesn’t want to hang around watching the other fullbacks, and has decided to go back to Alkmaar and train. Kari Arkivuo – not exactly indispensible to Finland’s midfield at the best of times – has gone back to Holland to train with his club. Sami Hyypiä and Jussi Jääskeläinen won’t be playing either.
It’s an odd situation when fringe players like these turn down the opportunity to represent their country, but that may be a consequence of the unmoveability of the senior players in the side. That said, Baxter has spoken of a desire to include Tim Sparv and Roni Porokara, so maybe we’ll see something new and interesting.
NFN got the team for the Wales game right, in large part thanks to a pre-posting discussion with Janne Oivio. It seems there is a lot to be said for staying at home and guessing, as Robert Laul discovered when naming the correct Sweden side before their match in Portugal. Unfortunately I’ve got absolutely no idea for this one, so you’ll have to wait and see. Feel free to laugh heartily at this when the team is announced, then:
Pasanen Tihinen Kuivasto Kallio
Eremenko Jr Heikkinen Eremenko Porokara