Monday September 9 2019
Kanerva complains about Italy penalty

Finland Coach Markku Kanerva was unconvinced by the winning Italy penalty and warns Euro 2020 qualification is “far from over.”

The Azzurri maintained their 100 per cent record thanks to Ciro Immobile’s header and a very controversial Jorginho penalty, after Teemu Pukki’s spot-kick had temporarily levelled.

“Of course, the players are disappointed by the result, but I think it’s a good sign that when we lose to Italy, we are disappointed,” said Kanerva.

The manner of the defeat was above all galling, as Sauli Vaisanen seemed to have his arm across his chest when the ball struck him.

“I have to look at it more closely, but from what I saw the ball was launched straight at his hand and the arm was in a natural position.

“If you start giving penalties for handball when there is no intention, defenders will have to play with their arms permanently clasped behind their backs and that transforms the game.

“Having said all that, Italy had many more scoring opportunities and it was really difficult to break against them. Italy reacted very well to those shifts and we didn’t make the most of the situation.”

Finland still have an excellent chance of securing their first ever European Championship ticket, as they are second in Group J on 12 points, followed by Armenia on nine, Bosnia-Herzegovina seven and Greece five.

Their position was further bolstered because Greece were held to a 1-1 home draw by Liechtenstein.

“Qualification is still in our hands and the importance of the October matches is even more marked now with these results,” continued Kanerva.

“A point with Italy certainly would’ve made our situation easier. We are in a good position, although the journey is far from complete.”

The top two teams in the Group qualify for Euro 2020.

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