Saturday September 7 2019
Kanerva: 'Finland not playing for draw'

Finland Coach Markku Kanerva confessed they’ll take a “defensive” approach to Italy in their Euro 2020 qualifier, but “are not playing for a draw.”

It kicks off tomorrow in Tampere at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

These are the top two teams in Group J and the only difference between them is Italy’s 2-0 victory last October.

“I’ve tried to give the players a little time off and not too much intensive training today,” explained Kanerva in his Press conference after a 1-0 win over Greece.

“We have different tactical options against Italy, but we will probable play in a fairly defensive way tomorrow. Having said that, we are certainly not playing for a draw.

“Obviously, a draw with Italy would be a positive result, but if tomorrow we had the opportunity to get the win and then we drew, I would not be happy. We’ll give it our all.”

Finland are forced into some changes, as captain Tim Sparv is suspended.

Italy have a 100 per cent record, although they had to fight back to beat 10-man Armenia 3-1 on Thursday.

“Armenia started strong and scored early, but Italy showed their strength by coming back for the victory.”

The star man in the Finnish side is Teemu Pukki, the Norwich City striker who has scored four of Finland’s last five goals in qualifying.

“Pukki is in good shape and scoring a lot of goals lately. We have other alternatives too, but he is playing exceptionally well at the moment.”

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