Finland Handicap (0)

On their debut, Northern Ireland were stronger than San Marino (2-0), but not by as much as expected. In the second half, the team even let the game go a bit and allowed an outsider to score, but the video recording system canceled the goal for offside. Perhaps this was because several 19-year-old debutants of the national team were involved on the pitch that evening. In the upcoming match against direct rivals, if O’Neal repeats the starting lineup, there could be serious balance issues in midfield.

In terms of the content of the game and taking into account the level of the opponent, Finland played a worthy match. She lost to Denmark (1:3), but it is worth adding that Suomi showed amazing resilience and kept the draw until the 82nd minute.

Markku Kanerva bets on defensive, pragmatic football that will be uncomfortable for any opponent. For example, in the Nations League, if a team loses, it is by no more than 1 goal. In their quartet with Romania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland was able to impose a fight and finished second.

I don’t think Northern Ireland is the right time to rejuvenate the squad. Against a pragmatic opponent like Finland, this can be costly.