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Welsh keep dream alive

Published: Wednesday 10 September 2003, 22.47CET
Wales 1-1 Finland Wales earn a play-off spot despite being denied victory in Cardiff.

Match statistics

WalesFinland

Goals scored1
 
1
Yellow cards1
 
1
Red cards1
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:57 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 10 September 2003, 22.47CET

Welsh keep dream alive

Wales 1-1 Finland Wales earn a play-off spot despite being denied victory in Cardiff.

A precious point was enough to send ten-man Wales at least into the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualification play-offs, although Mikael Forssell's 79th-minute leveller deprived the home side of victory after Simon Davies had given the Welsh an early lead.

Koumas sent off
Despite Jason Koumas being dismissed for a second booking 20 minutes from time, Wales looked to have recorded their first win in four internationals before Forssell's late strike.

Changes
Wales showed three changes to the side beaten 4-0 by Group 9 leaders Italy in Milan last Saturday. With Mark Delaney, Robbie Savage and Craig Bellamy all suspended, Andy Melville started his first competitive match since May and Robert Earnshaw and Rhys Weston were also included. For Finland, who needed a three-goal victory to keep their qualification hopes alive, Jari Litmanen was ruled out so Sami Hyypiä captained the side.

Davies strikes
Finland fell behind after only three minutes. Gary Speed's long ball was flicked on by John Hartson to release Davies, who advanced before planting a low drive past Antti Niemi for his fourth goal for his country. Finland, however, grew in strength and were soon dominating in midfield. With Aki Riihilahti and Teemu Tainio prominent, a chance was created on 18 minutes for Forssell who shot over. Wales also had to be vigilant to the wide thrusts of 1. FC Kaiserslautern's Mika Nurmela.

Giggs comes close
Finland appealed for a penalty when Nurmela's free-kick clipped the Welsh wall, but Wales hit back and almost doubled their lead on 38 minutes, Ryan Giggs's curling free-kick stretching Niemi at his near post.

Jones to the rescue
Juha Reini came on for Janne Saarinen at left back at the break and was immediately into the action as Earnshaw cut into the box, Niemi bravely halting that threat. But only three fine stops by Paul Jones before the hour preserved Wales's advantage, the Southampton FC goalkeeper thwarting Joonas Kolkka, twice, and Forssell.

Forssell leveller
Forssell brought Jones to his knees again soon after and Wales were hanging on after Koumas was sent off on 70 minutes. But just as it appeared that Wales had held out, Forssell stabbed in an equaliser 12 minutes from time.

Play-off assured
Wales now go into their final group game on 11 October at home to Serbia and Montenegro trailing leaders Italy, who drew 1-1 in Belgrade, by a point, but with a top-two place assured. Finland end their campaign with ten points, and will finish third unless Serbia and Montenegro win in Wales, who can still go through automatically if they win that game and Italy fail to beat Azerbaijan.

Last updated: 11/09/03 12.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2004/matches/round=1579/match=69271/postmatch/report/index.html#welsh+keep+dream+alive

Lineups

Wales

Wales

Finland

Finland

1
Paul JonesPaul Jones (GK)
1
Antti NiemiAntti Niemi (GK)
2
WestonRhys Weston
Substitution73
2
PasanenPetri Pasanen
Yellow Card58
Substitution82
3
SpeedGary Speed
3
SaarinenJanne Saarinen
Substitution46
4
MelvilleAndy Melville
Yellow Card70
4
HyypiäSami Hyypiä
5
PageRob Page
5
TihinenHannu Tihinen
6
PembridgeMark Pembridge
6
RiihilahtiAki Riihilahti
7
KoumasJason Koumas
Red Card63
7
NurmelaMika Nurmela
8
EarnshawRob Earnshaw
8
TainioTeemu Tainio
9
HartsonJohn Hartson
Substitution82
9
ForssellMikael Forssell
Goal79
10
DaviesSimon Davies
Goal3
10
VäyrynenMika Väyrynen
Substitution57
11
GiggsRyan Giggs
11
KolkkaJoonas Kolkka

Substitutes

21
CrossleyMark Crossley (GK)
12
JääskeläinenJussi Jääskeläinen (GK)
15
JohnsonAndy Johnson
Substitution73
13
ReiniJuha Reini
Substitution46
18
BlakeNathan Blake
Substitution82
17
KopteffPeter Kopteff
Substitution82
12
WilliamsAdrian Williams
18
KuqiShefki Kuqi
Substitution57
14
BarnardDarren Barnard
14
KuivastoToni Kuivasto
16
RobinsonCarl Robinson
15
ValakariSimo Valakari
17
OsterJohn Oster
16
JohanssonJonatan Johansson

Coach

Mark Hughes (WAL) Antti Muurinen (FIN)

Referee

Arturo Dauden Ibañez (ESP)

Assistant referees

Clemente Ayete Plou (ESP), Luis Cote Saez (ESP)

Fourth official

Javier Turienzo Alvarez (ESP)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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