Veteran forward Jari Litmanen rolled back the years by scoring twice as Finland got their UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign off to a fine start with an impressive win away to ten-man Poland in Group A.
Litmanen, his country's leading marksman, netted twice in the second half to guide the Finns to victory before setting up a third for Mika Väyrynen. Lukasz Gargula grabbed a late consolation for Poland but it was a night of little cheer for their new coach Leo Beenhakker, who also saw Arkadiusz Głowacki sent off.
The Poles had begun well and had the first chance of the game when Jakub Błaszczykowski drilled a long-range attempt just wide, before Finland keeper Jussi Jääskeläinen had to be alert to keep out two efforts from Michał Żewłakow midway through the first half.
At the other end, Teemu Tainio headed past the post and Jonatan Johansson's well-placed shot was tipped around the post by Poland custodian Jerzy Dudek. Then, nine minutes after the interval, Litmanen opened the scoring with the former AFC Ajax attacker slotting a low right-footed finish from the edge of the area.
Once in front, Jääskeläinen proved to be an impenetrable barrier for the Finns, saving from Tomasz Frankowski and Euzebiusz Smolarek in the space of four minutes. It was against the run of play that Finland doubled their advantage in the 76th minute, after Głowacki was adjudged to have brought down Alexei Eremenko Jr with the substitute clean through. A red card was brandished and Litmanen coolly converted from the spot.
The No10 then completed a fine individual night by inviting Väyrynen to score from inside the box in the 84th minute, before Gargula's long-distance drive into the top corner five minutes later provided only a minor consolation for the Poles.