Euro 2020 team profile: Group B – Finland and Russia

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FINLAND

finland national football team

Head coach: Markku Kanerva (Finnish)

Captain: Tim Sparv

Most capped player: Jari Litmanen (137)

Top scorer: Jari Litmanen (32)

FIFA ranking: 54

European Championship appearances: 1 (this is their very first)

Best run: N/A

Group rivals: Belgium, Denmark, and Russia.

Key players: Teemu Pukki, Tim Sparv, Lukáš Hrádecký, Fredrik Jensen, Joel Pohjanpalo.

Status: The debutants have an undaunted task of dealing with European heavyweights, Belgium and Denmark, and Russia in group B. Finland is also one of the lowest-ranked nations in the finals and we should expect them to stand no chance. 

They had a good qualifying record, winning 6 out of 10 games and not needing the playoffs to qualify, but it’ll be a great achievement if they can make it past the group stages by any means.

Verdict: Expect them to finish bottom of the group.

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RUSSIA 

russia national football team

Head coach: Stanislav Cherchesov (Russian)

Captain: Artem Dyuba

Most capped player: Sergei Ignashevich (127)

Top scorer: Aleksandr Kerzhakov (30)

FIFA ranking: 38

European Championship appearances: 12 (first in 1960 as the Soviet Union)

Best run: Champions in 1960 (as the Soviet Union) and semi-finals in 2008 (as Russia)

Group rivals: Belgium, Denmark, and Finland.

Key players: Artem Dyuba, Aleksandr Golovin, Yuri Zhirkov, Mario Fernandes, Aleksei Miranchuk, Roman Zobnin, Denis Cheryshev, Roman Neustädter.

Status: One of the most stubborn national football teams in Europe. Russia had a great World Cup tournament in 2018 and with a fantastic qualifying record of 8 wins in 10 qualifying games, we can expect them to end their long winless streak of 5 Euro finals games without a win in this year’s finals.

The last win Russia recorded at a Euros tournament was a 4-1 drubbing of the Czech Republic in their opening game of Euro 2012.

Difficult to beat, they will fancy their chances against Belgium, Denmark, and Finland in group B.

Verdict: Fingers crossed.