Another match, another win for Romania, who last week got the better of Chile, winning by three goals to two. They might not be going to World Cup in a few weeks, but the Romanians haven’t been feeling sorry for themselves of late. Tuesday’s hosts have won each of their last three matches, while they’ve now lost just one of their last seven. Such form bodes well for the hosts.
Finland are another team who failed to even come close to making the cut for Russia, though they too approach this fixture in pleasing form. Tuesday’s visitors won last time out, by thrashing Malta, while they’re now unbeaten in eight. They’ve not exactly been overly tested during that time, though manager Markku Kanerva is still likely to be impressed with how his side have fared.
Both teams come into this match, though the hosts have been facing a better class of opponent, and, ultimately, that could be key. Having stuck three past a more than useful Chile side, the hosts ought to fancy their chances ahead of this fixture. Finland have at times proved themselves to be resilient, but they’ve not often won away from home, while they also lack forward potency, especially on the road.
The visitors may have notched five against bottom-of-the-barrel Malta last time out, though that’s not exactly something to shout about. Against anyone half decent, Huuhkajat have struggled to impose themselves, especially away from home. Kanerva’s did manage to notch away against both Jordan and Kosovo recently, but, again, that’s hardly anything to brag about. Against useful teams, Finland have found life tough offensively, as just three goals in six matches against Croatia, Austria, Turkey, Slovenia’s B side, Morocco and Ukraine suggests.
In addition to their overall scoring troubles away from home in recent times, Finland have struggled to make headway in each of their recent friendlies on the road. Since 2016, Tuesday’s visitors have scored just two goals during their travelling friendly fixtures, while they’ve notched in just two of those six matches.
Romania, who’ve conceded three in their last three, aren’t the strongest defensively, but they should have the forward power to overpower the visitors. Having scored twice away against Israel recently, Cosmin Contra’s men returned to home soil to deliver a pleasing attacking performance against the Swedes, despite only scoring once, while they also went forward with real purpose when notching three goals against Chile last week. A repeat of that attacking effort would likely see the hosts come out on top against a Finnish side that won’t offer the greatest of attacking threats.
Romania’s superiority in the final third can be the catalyst for home success in this feature. Backing the hosts, who’ve notched at least twice in five of their nine home friendlies since 2016, to both come out on top and ‘To Score Over 1.5 Goals’ makes plenty of appeal.
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Having never lost in this fixture, Romania have got an excellent record against Finland. Tuesday’s hosts have won seven of the ten previous renewals and are unbeaten during that time. Only once have Romania failed to beat Finland on home soil. Back in 2015, the pair drew 1-1.
The Romanians were pretty much at full strength last time out and that could once again be the case here. Key player Nicolae Stanciu, who scored against Chile, should once again be involved, though the likes of Constantin Budescu and Alexandru Chipciu could come in front the start having featured from the bench last week.
The visitors could also be at full strength. After notching twice last time out, regular striker Teemu Pukki will once again be involved. Keeper Lukas Hradecky should be involved after sitting on the bench last time out, while the same can be said for Juha Pirinen.