Finland 1-1 England
Finland 1-1 England
UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2013-15
Qualifying Group One
5pm, Monday 9 September 2013
England Under-21s had to settle for a point in Tampere, where a second-half strike from Saido Berahino secured a 1-1 draw with Finland.
It was a frustrating night for the Three Lions, who conceded a stunning early free-kick from Finland winger Moshtagh Yaghoubi before going on to enjoy the better of the game.
And despite ending the match with ten men following the dismissal of captain Andre Wisdom, it was England who finished strongly with a late flurry but without a winning breakthrough.
Head Coach Gareth Southgate ultimately had to settle for a point though, against a nation tipped to be one of England’s main rivals in Group One.
It had been a relatively quiet opening, but the home crowd were on their feet after 15 minutes.
Yaghoubi was fouled by John Stones 40 yards from goal on the left and what followed was spectacular, as the winger stepped up and whipped home a long range shot with his right foot, catching out Jack Butland at the near post.
The goal was a shock to the system but forced England out of their shell and Southgate’s team went on to be the more progressive after that.
And they should have been awarded a penalty as England brought the first half to a strong finish, with Berahino brought down by home ‘keeper Jesse Joronen in the box only for the officials to rule out a spot-kick.
The Three Lions kept forcing the game on their hosts though and with Finland largely reliant on direct balls forward to big striker Tim Väyrynen, there was only one side playing the football.
Sub Harry Kane had a good chance to level things up within minutes of his introduction on the hour mark, only for Joronen to deny him with a smart save when the Spurs man was through on goal.
But the equaliser was fully deserved when it arrived seven minutes later, as Kane showed great vision to pick out Wilf Zaha on the right.
The Manchester United winger spotted Berahino in space and slid a perfect cross into the area for the West Brom striker to finish off from close range for his second Under-21s goal in two games.
It was all set up perfectly for England to push on for a winning goal, but they were dealt a blow with just over 15 minutes remaining when Wisdom appeared to kick out at Väyrynen following a challenge with the Finn.
The referee wasted no time in producing a red card, but the Three Lions continued to search for a winner despite Finland’s numerical advantage.
And there was time for more heroics from captain Joronen as he denied Eric Dier with a close range save after James Ward-Prowse had picked the sub out in the area with a free-kick.
Dier was then denied again in stoppage time, after getting onto the end of Luke Shaw’s corner from the right.
It just wasn’t to be for England, but Southgate will be quietly satisfied by the way in which his side went about their business in a potentially tricky venue.
Finland: 1 Jesse Joronen (c), 3 Felipe Aspegren, 4 Dani Hatakka ,5 Thomas Lam, 6 Robin Lod, 7 Moshtagh Yaghoubi, 9 Tim Väyrynen, 10 Aleksi Paananen (21 Juho Lehtonen, 88),15 Patrick O'Shaughnessy, 16 Nikolai Alho, 17 Antti Mäkijärvi (11 Loorents Hertsi, 73).
Subs not used: 12 Walter Viitala, 2 Marcus Heimonen, 8 Patrick Aaltonen, 14 Daniel O'Shaughnessy, 18 Kevin Peth.
Goals: Moshtagh Yaghoubi (15).
Bookings: Moshtagh Yaghoubi (74).
England: 1 Jack Butland, 2 John Stones, 3 Luke Shaw, 4 Nathaniel Chalobah (18 Harry Kane, 58), 5 Andre Wisdom (c), 6 Michael Keane, 7 Nathan Redmond (17 Sammy Ameobi, 58), 8 James Ward-Prowse, 9 Saido Berahino, 10 Tom Carroll, 11 Wilfried Zaha (15 Eric Dier, 76).
Subs not used: 12 Todd Kane, 13 Johnathan Bond, 14 Jack Robinson, 16 Will Hughes.
Goals: Saido Berahino (67)
Bookings: Wilf Zaha (25), Saido Berahino (60), John Stones (74).
Red cards: Andre Wisdom (74).
Referee: Vladimir Kazmenko
Assistant Referees: Oleg Tselovalnikov & Ilya Baryshnikov
Fourth Official: Timur Arslanbekov (RUS)