Portugal v Finland – Match Preview: International Friendly
As Portugal prepare to take on Finland on Tuesday, 29th March 2011 in their International Friendly at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro, let us take a look at how both the European nations might line up against each other...
After going out of the FIFA 2010 World Cup at the round of sixteen, Portugal have taken a steady road to recovery under their new manager, Paulo Bento. Currently, second in their own EURO 2012 qualification group with just seven points from four fixtures, the Portuguese national team now turns their focus towards Finland.
Out of their last five competitive fixtures, Portugal have won three, drawn one, and lost one. Their only loss came in a friendly matchup against Argentina. Under Bento’s guidance, Portugal have been transformed into a solid outfit with spectacular counter offensive capabilities. However, as the men in red take the field against Finland, they will be without their captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fifth in their qualification group in context of EURO 2012, Finland has been below average for the past two years. With just three points from four matches, the Finnish national team will look to gain confidence from their friendly against Portugal by gaining a good result in Aveiro.
Markku Kanerva will lead the Finnish national team out on Tuesday night, he was appointed as their caretaker manager in November of 2010. With the team in a less than impressive run of form of late, Kanerva’s position is already under threat. Out of their last five matches, Finland have won one, lost three, and drawn one.
Portugal’s main absentee will be their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo. Struggling with his calf injury, the ex-Manchester United forward has been sent back to his club side Real Madrid for further treatment after Portugal’s one nil win over Chile on Saturday, 26th of March, 2011.
Expected Portugal line up: Rui Patricio, Fabio Coentrao, Ricardo Carvalho, Rolando, Joao Perreira, Carlos Martins, Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresma, Hugo Almeida, and Nani
Alternatively, Finland has no injury troubles to report of, Mikael Forssell was a doubt due to a hamstring injury, but has been declared fit to face Portugal.
Expected Finland line up: Otto Fredrikson, Jukka Raitala, Niklas Moisander, Markus Heikkinen, Petri Pasanen, Mika Vayrynen, Roman Eremenko, Alexei Eremenko Jr, Roni Porokara, Mikael Forssell, and Berat Sadik
With Cristiano Ronaldo out, Luis Nani will be the main man for Portugal. Nani has had a fantastic season with Manchester United, but has failed to reproduce his form at the international level. However, this match in question against Finland, presents itself as a wonderful opportunity for the young forward who has the potential to lead Portugal to a win in Aveiro.
Conversely, Mikael Forssell will be leading the line for Finland. The Hannover striker has been Finland’s top goal-scorer in the past decade with 24 goals in 73 matches. With a strike ratio of just below a goal in every two matches, the ex-Birmingham City is expected to add to his tally against Portugal.
Portugal might be without their captain, Ronaldo but their overall strength as a unit makes them clear cut favourites to win this tie. Finland is a resilient outfit but they are no match for Portugal, especially on Os Navegadores’ home turf. Prediction: Portugal 3 – 1 Finland.
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