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We preview Stephen Kenny’s first home match as Ireland manager, as they face Finland on Sunday evening, how to watch the match plus starting teams.
How to Watch Match
You can watch the match with a Sky Sports day pass for £9.99
Existing Sky Sports customers can live stream the game via the Sky Go app on a variety of devices.
Probable Starting Teams
Finland predicted XI (3-5-2): Lukas Hradecky, Leo Vaisanen, Juhani Ojala, Daniel O’Shaughnessy, Ilmari Niskanen, Glen Kamara, Tim Sparv, Joni Kauko, Jere Juhani Uronen, Joel Pohjanpalo, Teemu Pukki
Preview of Ireland v Finland
Shane Duffy’s late leveller in Bulgaria on Thursday gave Stephen Kenny a point from his first game as Ireland manager.
The old fashioned goal was a contrast from Ireland’s approach in the game, with Kenny trying to implement a new style of play. Finland’s visit to Dublin for a Sunday evening encounter is the opportunity to show what lessons were learned.
Finland were unlucky to kick off their campaign with a defeat to Wales. The Euro 2020 qualifiers created a number of opportunities that they failed to convert. Their historic achievement – the Euros will be their first ever major finals appearances – was built on the remarkable exploits of Norwich’s Teemu Pukki who scored ten times in their group. Pukki hasn’t scored since before the shutdown and endured a frustrating evening.
Kenny’s first game hinted at a work in progress and Ireland will fancy their chances here.
His mission is to alter the perception of Irish sides and 59pc possession away from home in a competitive qualifier was a sign of what’s to come.
That said, there was an absence of real penetration and it was low tempo stuff for long spells, perhaps a product of the fact that the Irish side were coming back out of pre-season mode.
In normal circumstances, the cliched line would be that a lively home crowd in Dublin might stir the senses but Kenny will have to wait for a while to sample that atmosphere.
Still, the game attracted considerable scrutiny in Ireland, especially as the new manager wasn’t afraid to drop stalwarts such as Seamus Coleman and James McClean in favour of Matt Doherty and Aaron Connolly respectively.
David McGoldrick returns from injury and his wellbeing will determine if he gets the nod ahead of Norwich teenager Adam Idah who was pitched in for a senior debut in Sofia. The change of style and focus on youth hinted at a long term mission and that’s why there is perhaps a reluctance to get sucked into a strong play on the hosts in this fixture.
Finland have a poor record on their travels, with their Euros success built on their home form. And it’s probably understandable that Ireland would be priced in or around the 1.83 mark. Kenny should have his team fired up for this occasion and there’s no temptation to lay at those odds. But the lesson of Thursday is that it’s too soon to truly bet the hosts without any conviction either.