The Finnish women’s national football team Helmarit continued its winning streak in the Nations League by defeating Croatia 2–0 on the away field. Suomen finished both hits Eveliina Summanen.
– An important victory and zero in your own head. It was perhaps a bit more difficult game than in Finland, but I think we performed quite well, Summanen acknowledged his goal production after the match against Croatia.
With his two goals, Summanen established himself as the team’s best scorer this year, when he has scored six goals in 11 matches. Summanen also stated that Finland should be able to perform better in the attacking third in order for the team to score more goals.
Finland’s head coach thinks the same Marko Saloranta.
– We forced our attacking game a bit and you would have thought that an early goal would release it. However, the attack did not go as well as we would have liked. Of course, it wasn’t our best game, but I’m definitely satisfied with the result, Saloranta said.
According to the head coach, Finland had several chances to decide the game in the match. He said that he was satisfied with the whole, although the team can improve its game a lot. In two matches against Croatia, Finland scored five goals out of 30 scoring attempts.
Sports expert Essi Sainio says that he paid attention to the fact that Saloranta expressed his dissatisfaction for the first time. According to Sainio, the head coach’s dissatisfaction is a good sign, because then the level of demands is high enough.
– In several situations, the Finnish players had their backs to the goal when they received the ball. I don’t know if it’s the timing or the rhythm of the attack, but there’s a lot to shake up, Sainio estimates.
Several new young people joined the team
New young players have been named to the team this year, such as a 20-year-old Anni Hartikainen. For the national team break that ended on Tuesday, 19-year-olds were also invited to the A national team Lotta Lindstöm and Wind Viinikka. Of them, only Hartikainen played in matches against Croatia.
Head coach Saloranta said before Friday’s match against Croatia that Lindström and Viinikka are players who have been on the Helmarei watch list for a long time.
– They are in the team because we strongly believe that they can be put on the field.
At the same time, the one representing German Freiburg, for example, has been left without a national team invitation Milla Punsar (26 years) and in the completed season at the Helsinki Football Club was successful Iina Salmi (29). Saloranta said that more experienced players have not been forgotten.
– Players with whom you can win matches should always be selected for the A national team. It has been difficult for Milla as he has played very few minutes in Germany. Iina Salme had pretty much the same situation in Valencia – quite broken and very little playing time. The move was certainly good, since he now has a big and significant role in HJK, Saloranta reasoned.
Lindström, who represents HJK, has played in the under-19 national team, but has not been in the under-23 group. Viinikka, representing Tampere’s Ilves, has once again gone through the path of the Finnish girls’ national team, Saloranta says.
Sainio states that Lindstöm earned a place in Finland’s main league with his performances in the National League. Viinika being named to the A national team came as a surprise to him.
– Saloranta knows the young players really well because he has worked with them for years. In that sense, it is not surprising that names unknown to the general public, such as Viinikka, come along, says Sainio.
He believes that Saloranta’s group will continue to see individual players who will be able to train with the national team. Through that, they also have the opportunity to move up to the representative group.
– There are other examples in Finland who haven’t been a force in the youth national teams, but have later made it to the A national team. In the future, it is also important to assess the player’s current level. Choices are made based on that.
With the best players in the future
Finland has played its Nations League matches with a fairly established group. Individual changes have been made to the starting line-up and the substitutes have been mainly the same from game to game.
Finland has a solid five-point lead in their own group when the teams have two matches left. In theory, the coaching staff would have the opportunity to play new players during the next national team break. However, expert Sainio believes that head coach Saloranta trusts the current group.
In the next match, Finland plays at home, while Romania comes to Turku as a guest. Sainio estimates that Romania is a much better team than Croatia.
– Finland is going to win the rest of its Nations League games. At this point, it has become clear that these B-League matches are not easy. Romania is good in singles and a completely different team than Croatia, so yes, we will go into that match with the so-called first guns.