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Finland vs Russia – Euro2020 Preview

Finland won their opening game of the competition 1-0 against Denmark, though that is a result that needs taking with a hefty pinch of salt due to events involving Christian Eriksen, and the fact the goal was a pretty bad goalkeeping error with Denmark also missing a penalty as well. In that game Finland had just 30% possession, with only 1 shot with was the goal, they also picked up 2 yellow cards and took no corners. Whilst the history books will have it as a 1-0 win for Finland, they were hardly impressive in that game.

Russia lost 3-0 to Belgium, managing 5 shots, with 1 on target, whilst having 33% possession, taking 4 corners and receiving no cards. Russia struggled to contain a classy Belgium side, though they did leave the impression that against lower ranked sides they would create opportunities. This will be an interesting game as both sides will be hopeful of having more of the ball than they did in their opening games, and Russia in particular will be playing with an element of desperation, as if they lose this game then their chances of reaching the knock out stages will look very slim. Finland have 3 points in the bag, but should they lose here they will likely be in the position of having to get some kind of result against Belgium in order to progress to the knock out stages.

The referee for this game is Danny Makkelie, who took charge of the opening game between Italy and Turkey (Giving Turkey 2 yellow cards). This season he has taken charge of 37 games, awarding 125 yellow cards and 9 red cards, for an average of 3.38 yellow cards per game and 0.24 red cards per game. In his career to date he has taken charge of 232 games, handing out 716 yellow cards and 45 red cards, for an average of 3.09 yellow cards per game and 0.19 red cards per game.

I see this being quite a tense and low quality game. Russia are unlikely to be too aggressive to start with as they are the ones who are at risk in this game. The first goal will likely prove crucial and I see Russia getting that goal and scrapping their way to a win. Finland will likely set up to play on the counter attack as a point for them here would be a real boost to their chances of progressing to the knock out stages. I see a game that Russia control, with Russia taking a relatively high number of corners and also Russia receiving a few yellow cards. The way Finland are likely to set up will lead to Russia having to bring them down to stop counter attacks, and with their tournament on the line the Russia players are unlikely to think twice about committing fouls. I see Russia winning by a 2-0 or 2-1 score line.

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