Finland strolled to a 3-1 win over Poland on Saturday, despite failing to produce their best football. The home side encountered stiff resistance but goals from Tiina Salmén, Laura Kalmari and Sanna Talonen were enough to send them top of Group 3.
Salmén settles Finnish nerves
Clear chances were a prized commodity in the first half, with Kalmari and Anna-Kaisa Rantanen the only players to seriously threaten the Polish goal. But on the stroke of half-time, Salmén fired home from close range to draw the venom from Finland coach Michael Käld's team talk.
The Finns continued to dominate until mid-way through the second half, when they fell victim to a rare counterattack and Anna Gawronska raced clear and found the net to equalize. The Polish celebrations were short-lived, as Kalmari ran on to Anne Mäkinen's long pass and restored the lead within two minutes. Talonen added a third six minutes from time, adding some gloss to the scoreline.
'Disappointed despite the win'
Käld said his players failed to do themselves justice in spite of the victory: "Our pace was too slow and we should have passed the ball faster. Poland had time to organize their defence and this caused us problems," he said. "Even the players looked a little bit disappointed despite the win."
Finland are top of the group on six points, and Denmark can join them if they win at home to Belgium on Sunday. The two teams, who both appeared at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™, are expected to fight it out for top spot and a ticket for the 2007 FIFA World Cup.
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