Team news and stats ahead of Finland vs Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Nations League, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 5pm).
Daryl Horgan has admitted the Republic of Ireland may just need the ball to go in off someone’s backside as they attempt to solve their goal-drought.
Stephen Kenny’s men slipped out of the Euro 2020 play-offs on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Slovakia on Thursday night and played out a stalemate Nations League draw with Wales on Sunday.
In fact, they have scored only 22 goals in their last 28 competitive matches and asked how they fix that problem ahead of Wednesday night’s trip to Finland, live on Sky Sports, Wycombe midfielder Horgan suggested luck might be one factor.
He said: “How do you fix it? That’s why the best centre-forwards go for a hundred million quid. They are good at it and natural. It could be the case of us getting one and they’ll flow. It might be a bit of confidence, or luck, whatever you like to call it.
“Maybe, on Wednesday, it will hit someone on the backside and go in, and it could just go from there.
“It’s easier said than done, but the rest of the stuff is very, very good. You can see what the manager has put in place and the way he wants us to play. We are creating chances, so that side of it is good. Now it’s the last, tiny detail, but the most important detail.”
An unnamed player has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad after testing positive for coronavirus, the Football Association of Ireland has announced.
The player is now in self-isolation after being tested for a third time on Monday and will miss Wednesday’s Nations League game in Finland.
John Egan, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and Alan Browne all missed Sunday’s goalless draw against Wales as close contacts of another unnamed player who tested positive and have all since returned to their respective clubs.
Aaron Connolly has joined Adam Idah in returning to the squad after missing the last two games because of a coronavirus issue. Connolly is a replacement for James McClean who is suspended for the game in Helsinki after his late red card against Wales.
West Brom’s Dara O’Shea, Derby’s Jason Knight, QPR’s Ryan Manning and Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis have also been called up by boss Stephen Kenny.
Fredrik Jensen is in contention to return to the Finland starting line-up after scoring from the bench versus Bulgaria.
Teemu Pukki, with 25 goals in 83 internationals, is set to lead the line with head coach Markku Kanerva unlikely to make too many changes for this second competitive fixture in the space of three days.
How to follow
Finland vs Republic of Ireland will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 4.30pm; Kick-off at 5pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game goals in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
- This will be the Republic of Ireland’s second away game against Finland, and first since a friendly in August 2002, which Ireland won 3-0.
- Finland’s 1-0 win over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in September was both their first victory and first clean sheet in six meetings with Republic of Ireland in all competitions (D2 L3).
- The Republic of Ireland are now without a win in eight competitive games (D6 L2); only once before have they endured a longer such run (a run of 14 ending in October 1972).
- Finland are one of just four sides to concede just one goal at home in UEFA Nations League games (no team has shipped 0), with their rate of 0.2 goals conceded per game on home soil the best rate in the competition (1 in 5 games).
- The Republic of Ireland have failed to score in each of their last three internationals and have played out goalless draws in their last two; they last were in involved in three consecutive 0-0s in September 2011.
- Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has yest to taste victory in his four games in charge (D3 L1) with Mick McCarthy the last Irish boss to fail to win any of his first five in 1996.
- Augsburg midfielder Fredrik Jensen is looking to score in three consecutive competitive internationals for Finland (two goals in two so far) after netting two in his previous eight.
- Shaun Williams (v Wales) and Shane Duffy (v Bulgaria) remain the only Republic of Ireland players to score in the UEFA Nations League, with only San Marino managing fewer goals overall in the competition (0) than the Boys In Green (2).
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