A week ago, Finland would probably have taken this position: take a point from its final group game against Belgium, and it should qualify for the last 16 at Euro 2020. In its first tournament, that would be a remarkable achievement. But, having beaten Denmark over the weekend, following up with a 10 defeat to a largely uninspired Russia side playing on home soil on Wednesday inevitably felt anti-climactic.Saturday was a strange day for Finland. Under normal circumstances, the momentous occasion would have been cause for celebration. Winning should have made it an unforgettable dayand it was unforgettable, but not for the 10 victory. The image that will remain with everybody involved was not of Joel Pohjanpalos headed winner, but of Christian Eriksen lying limp on the pitch having suffered a cardiac arrest. The contrast between the glee with which Finlands players sang their anthem and Pohjanpalos muted celebration of his goal was striking. Football was not the most important thing that day, Finland captain and midfielder Tim Sparv said https://www.storeminnesotaonline.com/Pet_Jerseys-87. This, in a sense, was Finlands true first game in a major tournament, a game in which its players could just think about the match itself without the immediate pressure of a far greater concern.The temptation is to ask whether Finland could be the Iceland of Euro 2020 and, although there are certain similarities between the emergence of the two nations, there are also major differences. Both, for instance, have focused on the construction of all-weather pitches and on providing professional coaching for players of all ages, raising the general level.But Finland has a population of 5.5 million, while Icelands is just around 350,000. In that sense, the comparison should arguably be to Denmark, although there is a lot of catching up to be done. Denmark was an early adopter of the game, taking silver at the 1908 Olympics, and its a measure of how far behind Finland is that total player sales from the Danish league last season had a value 20 times that of the Finnish league.And while Icelands progress to the quarterfinals at Euro 2016 was based on the greatest generation of players the country had ever produced https://www.storeminnesotaonline.com/Kevin_Fiala_T_shirt-18, this Finnish squad almost certainly isnt as good as the one of 20 years ago that featured the likes of Jari Litmanen, As Eero Laurila, a former journalist who is now a coach with third-division Finnish side Espoon Palloseura, points out, Finland used to specialize in individual sports: javelin, long-distance running, cross-country skiing and ski jump. That began to change with ice hockey, particularly after the whiteboard revolution that began to instill more integrated tactics led to an improvement in results, culminating in the world title in 2011, and has now been carried into football.The result is a tight-knit, highly organized side, and it looked as though it had gotten off to a perfect start in St. Petersburg on Wednesday on its quest to make it two wins in two games Joseph Cramarossa Pillow Cover. With Finland pressing in a way it hadnt against Denmark, Jukka Raitala robbed Mario Fernandes on the right and crossed for Pohjanpalo to head powerfully past Matvei Safonov. There was nothing muted about his celebration this time, but a linesmans flag ruled the goal out.Thereafter it was back to the more expected Finnish approach, sitting deep, looking to absorb pressure and using Teemu Pukki on the break. Russia dominated possession without looking especially dangerous until, just before halftime, Aleksei Miranchuk exchanged passes with Artem Dzyuba and, with very little backlift, guided the ball into the top cornera rare moment of quality after a largely ordinary half.Finland had far more of the ball in the second half, but with Pukki far from fully fit and forced off after 76 minutes there was very little cutting edge, and the only real chance of the half fell the way of Russia Daler Kuzyaev, his low shot being well saved by Lukáš Hrádecký.It may have been a reality check for Finland, but just being at the Euros is a major achievement on its own.