Prevented from lining out for his country last weekend due to a stomach ailment, Impact’s Lassi Lappalainen is back in the Finland squad for this evening’s visit of Armenia.
A victory for the Finns, coupled with a Bosnian failure to win in Greece would see Lappalainen, Raitala and Co take a huge step towards a first-ever tournament finals. Should results this evening work in their favour, Finland could be playing against Liechtenstein at home next month seeking three points to confirm qualification.
They’d have taken that all day long, before a ball was kicked in the group.
Jukka Raitala should add cap number 48 to his tally, unless coach Markku Kanerva decides to go with wing-backs, as he did against Italy recently. Raitala may lose out to Albin Granlund should the coach decide against a straightforward back four.
Winning their next two home games (v Armenia and v Liechtenstein) would give Finland 18 points with only one game to play (away against Greece). Armenia would not be able to match that total should Finland win tonight. Bosnia would, however they would need to defeat Greece (away) and Italy (at home) to make it.
All still looks very positive for the Finns despite Saturday’s setback, but it’s a do or die situation for the Armenians, and Finland will do well not to underestimate this evening’s opponents.