Kanerva wary of English talent
Monday, 15 June, 2009
Finland Head Coach, Markku Kanerva, admits his side face a difficult opening match.
After watching England Under-21s defeat Azerbaijan 7-0 last week Finland Head Coach, Markku Kanerva, admits his side face a difficult task in the opening match of the European Championship on Monday evening.
Finland qualified for the Euros, which are being staged in Sweden, after finishing top of their qualifying group ahead of Denmark and Scotland and defeating Austria in the play-offs after a penalty shoot-out.
They have been drawn in Group B alongside Spain, Germany and Stuart Pearce's England side and at the pre-tournament press conference Kanerva spoke highly of The Three Lions.
"It’s going to be a huge challenge for us that’s for sure," he predicted.
"England [are one of] the... favourites [for] this tournament. [They] had a convincing victory against Azerbaijan and have top quality players which have been very easy to scout by watching Premier League games," he continued.
"They have some players who played against Andorra with the Seniors, so they’ll certainly be stronger than the team they put out against Azerbaijan."
He believes his side are considered outsiders to win tonight's match but says they have nevertheless trained hard with a view to pulling off a shock result.
"Of course we’re underdogs," he concedes. "[But] meeting England in the opening game suits us as they have all the pressure on them and it’s our goal to surprise them.
"We’re a quite physical team like England but nowadays England don’t kick as many long balls and try to win duels and second balls but play more modern football, a transition game with more emphasis on positions which makes things difficult for us.
"We’ve prepared very well and are ready to meet that challenge and are quite confident we can challenge them."
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