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Finland ready to finish job

Published: Wednesday 27 August 2008, 2.43CET
Finland coach Markku Kanerva will take confidence from past victories against Denmark and Slovenia into his side's final two Under-21 qualifiers
by Mikael Erävuori
from Helsinki
Finland ready to finish job
Finland fans will hope to be celebrating ©Getty Images
 

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Published: Wednesday 27 August 2008, 2.43CET

Finland ready to finish job

Finland coach Markku Kanerva will take confidence from past victories against Denmark and Slovenia into his side's final two Under-21 qualifiers
Finland coach Markku Kanerva will take confidence from past victories against Denmark and Slovenia into his side's final two qualifiers as they look to earn a spot in the play-offs for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Three in contention
The Finns lead Group 6 by two points from Scotland and Denmark – their next opponents on 5 September before a trip to Slovenia four days later – with only the pool winners guaranteed a play-off berth. Kanerva has made just one change to the squad which drew 1-1 with Sweden last week, FC International Turku midfielder Mika Ojala replacing Ilari Äijälä from Myllykosken Pallo-47. "Of the19 players named, Perparim Hetemaj has a slight ankle injury and we'll have to see about his fitness at the weekend," said the coach.

'Tough matches'
"We are focusing fully on Denmark," Kanerva continued. "After that match we'll see what the situation is and only then will we begin to think about Slovenia. We played well against Sweden and are ready for the final two matches. We've beaten both teams in this qualifying campaign and that certainly gives us confidence, although we're also well aware that we're facing two tough matches. We may have surprised Denmark when we won there, but they've studied us intensively since."

Finland squad
Goalkeepers:
Anssi Jaakkola (AC Siena), Tomi Maanoja (AIK Solna).

Defenders: Joni Aho (FC International Turku), Ville Jalasto (FC Honka), Jermu Gustafsson (FF Jaro), Pyry Kärkkäinen (FC Lahti), Jukka Raitala (HJK Helsinki), Jonas Portin (FF Jaro), Tuomo Turunen (FC Honka).

Midfielders: Juha Hakola (FC Flora), Mehmet Hetemaj (Panionios GSS), Kasper Hämäläinen (FC TPS Turku), Mika Ojala (FC International Turku), Tomi Petrescu (Tampere United), Tim Sparv (Halmstads BK), Perparim Hetemaj (AEK Athens FC).

Forwards: Aleksandr Kokko (FC Honka), Jarno Parikka (HJK Helsinki, Berat Sadik (DSC Arminia Bielefeld).

Last updated: 02/09/08 12.49CET

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