Slick Finland sign off in style

Finland 4-0 Northern Ireland
The UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ hosts finished their preparations for the finals with a convincing win at the Helsinki Football Stadium.

Finland's Sanna Talonen (No17) celebrates her opener with Laura Österberg-Kalmari
Finland's Sanna Talonen (No17) celebrates her opener with Laura Österberg-Kalmari ©FA of Finland/Jussi Es

Finland 4-0 Northern Ireland
UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ hosts Finland completed their preparations for the forthcoming finals with a convincing win against Northern Ireland at the Helsinki Football Stadium.

Early goal
Sanna Talonen gave Michael Käld's side a 12th-minute lead, although it was not until the latter stages of the second half that they were able to confirm victory. A clinical finish from Essi Sainio doubled the advantage just past the hour mark and, after spurning a number of chances, Laura Österberg-Kalmari and Annica Sjölund put the seal on a confidence-boosting display with strikes in the final four minutes.

Easy finish
After a somewhat nervy start, Finland soon seized the initiative with Jessica Julin and Linda Sällström both going close. The hosts did not have to wait too much longer to take the lead, though, as Talonen flicked a through ball from Österberg-Kalmari past the onrushing Northen Ireland goalkeeper Emma Higgins and finished into the unguarded net. Finland continued to dominate thereafter with Susanna Lehtinen and Talonen missing chances to double the lead, while at the other end Sarah McFadden reminded the hosts they could ill afford to relax with a free-kick which was well saved by Tinja-Riikka Korpela.

Squad used
Finland, who begin their Group A campaign against Denmark on 23 August, continued to dominate in the second half despite Käld making several changes as he took the opportunity to assess his players for the last time before finalising his squad. Sainio extended the lead on 61 minutes with a perfectly placed shot from the edge of the penalty area then, with four minutes remaining, Sjölund's shot was deflected into the path of Österberg-Kalmari, who had the simplest of tasks from close range. Sjölund got her name on the score sheet in added time, getting the merest of deflections to Anne Mäkinen's goal-bound effort.

'Nervous'
"We were a bit nervous in the first half, but after the interval we passed the ball around much faster and played much better," said Käld. "I am happy with the four goals and especially by the fact that those goals were scored by forwards and, of course, a clean sheet was important. We now have to consider very carefully which players will make the squad. There are 14 to 15 obvious candidates but name 20 or 21 is equally as important. The players will now have a little rest after a five-day training camp before we meet up again on 19 August."

Finland: Korpela; Niemi (Hyyrynen, 30), Valkonen, Salmén, Saari; Mäkinen, Lehtinen (Sainio, 46), Julin (Westerlund, 79); Sällström (Nokso-Koivisto, 83) Österberg-Kalmari, Talonen (Sjölund, 46).