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Euro 2024 Qualifying: Wales vs. Finland Prediction & Betting Tips

Cardiff, Wales
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      • (3') D. Brooks
      • (38') N. Williams
      • (47') B. Johnson
      • (86') D. James
      • (45') T. Pukki
      • (54') J. James
      • (65') H. Wilson
      • (74') C. Mepham
      • (95') K. Moore
      Yellow Card
      • (22') R. Lod
      • (50') M. Tenho
      • (68') D. Håkans

          Euro 2024 Qualifying Wales vs. Finland

          In the high-stakes arena of international football, the Euro 2024 playoff semi-final presents a captivating showdown between Wales and Finland, set to unfold this Thursday. This encounter not only offers a competitive prospect for fans but also a storied faceoff between two relative underdog nations striving for a place in the European Championships.

          Date: 21/03/2024

          Kick-off time: 19:45

          Location: Cardiff City Stadium

          Wales, under the stewardship of Rob Page, encountered a tricky challenge in their qualifying group, which comprised Turkey, Croatia, Armenia, and Latvia. Given the competitive nature of their group, Wales' third-place finish was a respectable feat and largely equal to what could have realistically been expected of them, albeit amidst an atmosphere of occasional fan discontent. Critics of Page argue that his tenure has seen the team underachieve, a sentiment likely fueled by the high standards set during a golden period for Welsh football.

          This golden era was highlighted by a historic run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, a fairy tale that not only captivated the nation but also signalled Wales' resurgence on the international stage. The squad's participation in the 2022 World Cup further underscored this resurgence, marking their first appearance at the World Cup finals in 64 years.

          Despite being perceived as having diminished in strength over the past few years, Wales boasts considerable talent within their ranks. Defenders Joe Rodon and Ben Davies, midfielders Ethan Ampadu and Jordan James, and forward Brennan Johnson form the backbone of a team that blends experience with youthful exuberance. The team's recent history against Finland, remaining unbeaten in their last four encounters, adds a layer of psychological advantage as they prepare for the upcoming fixture.

          On the other side of the pitch, Finland's journey mirrors that of a nation steadily making its mark in international football. The team's third-place finish in a qualifying group featuring Denmark, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, and San Marino was in line with expectations, yet it underscored a narrative of progress and persistence.

          The highlight of Finland's recent football history came in 2020 when they qualified for the European Championships for the first time, a monumental achievement for Finnish football. However, the transition period that followed saw the phasing out of key players such as Tim Sparv and Joona Toivio, while start striker Teemu Pukki left England to go and play in the US as his career began its decline, leaving a void of experience and raising concerns about the emergence of new talent to carry the team forward.

          Despite these challenges, Finland boast a squad with notable quality, anchored by the likes of Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, Leeds United's Glen Kamara, Middlesbrough's Marcus Forss, and Venezia's Joel Pohjanpalo. Under the guidance of Markku Kanerva, who has helmed the team since 2016, Finland approach the playoff with a blend of experience and cautious optimism, fully aware of the underdog status but emboldened by the opportunity to defy expectations once more.

          The strategic nuances of the game will undoubtedly be influenced by the managerial acumen of Rob Page and Markku Kanerva. Page's task will be to harness the collective strength of his squad, leveraging their talents to break down a Finnish side that, while less heralded, is no less determined. Kanerva, on the other hand, faces the challenge of orchestrating an upset, drawing on tactical discipline and the individual quality of his key players.

          The commonality shared between these two sides is that both are amidst a period of transition where each is trying to bridge the gap between losing and phasing out tried and tested, successful players and attempting to usher in the next generation of talent. The Welsh are no doubt slightly more advanced in that journey and another international tournament appearance would be invaluable for the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Jordan James and Brennan Johnson, who will all likely be the backbone of the Welsh national team for years to come.

          For Finland, a second-ever appearance in a major tournament finals would be a huge feat for a side that have had little to cheer about since Euro 2020 and would no doubt be a significant aid to attempts to continue to develop the sport in the country.

          Wales To Win

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          Wales To Win @ 17/20
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          Both Teams To Score

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          Wales To Score 2+ Goals

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          Wales To Score 2+ Goals @ 11/10
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          Team News

          Wales Team News:

          Rob Page is likely to stick with the 3-4-3 formation that he relies on so heavily that sees Danny Ward between the sticks behind Joe Rodon, Ben Davies and likely Chris Mepham in Tom Lockyer's well-publicised absence.

          Jordan James will continue to partner Ethan Ampadu in midfield with Conor Roberts and Neco Williams as the wing-backs, while Harry Wilson and one of either David Brooks or Nathan Broadhead will likely play either side of Brennan Johnson.

          Finland Team News:

          Teemu Pukki doesn't start many games for Finland these days and will likely once again start on the bench here, with Joel Pohjanpalo leading the line for the Nordics.

          Middlesbrough's Marcus Forss will battle it out with Fredrik Jensen and Daniel Håkans to make up part of the front three while Glen Kamara will no doubt start in midfield with Lukas Hradecky between the sticks.

          Form Guide (Last Five Games)

          Wales are amidst a decent run of form with some mixed results having won three and drawn two of their last five games. Their most recent game was a 1-1 draw at home to Turkey in their final game of the qualifying process with Neco Williams' goal after just seven minutes eventually cancelled out by a Yusuf Yazıcı penalty in the 70th minute.

          That result followed a hugely disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Armenia in a must-win fixture that effectively confirmed their place in the playoffs and scuppered their chance at booking their plane ticket to Germany automatically.

          Wales' best performance in the last couple of years came prior to the Armenia draw where they beat Croatia 2-1 thanks to a brace from Harry Wilson. It was a huge performance from Rob Page's side amidst mounting pressure from fans over the team's performances. The win also followed victories over Gibraltar (4-0) and Latvia (2-0).

          Finland's form has been up and down of late as they come into this game with two wins and three losses in their last five games. Those two wins, though, did come in their last two games so they'll feel like they're coming into this one in good shape.

          Their latest game was an expected 2-1 win over San Marino, courtesy of a brace from Pyry Soiri, which was preceded by a thumping 4-0 win over Northern Ireland via goals from Joel Pohjanpalo, Daniel Håkans, Teemu Pukki and Robin Lod.

          Before the brief winning streak the Finnish are currently on, Kanerva's side lost three on the bounce at the hands of Kazakhstan (1-2), Slovenia (3-0) and Denmark (0-1).

          Footy Accumulators Prediction

          This one should be a pretty competitive encounter but one that, ultimately, the Welsh should come out on top in. Finland have had some poor defeats of late, notably the loss at home to Kazakhstan, while Wales have shown they still have a very impressive performance or two in them. Buoyed by home advantage, Wales' superior talent level should prove the difference here. We predict: Wales 2-1 Finland.

          Don’t forget to check out the rest of our previews, tips and offers for this weekend’s action. Footy Accumulators is the #1 football betting site for the latest on betting in the UK - download the Betting Hub app for more!

          Header logoEuro 2024 Qualifying - Group D

          Team logoTürkiye
          Team logoCroatia
          Team logoWales
          Team logoArmenia
          Team logoLatvia
          Last updated 19/04/2024

          Header logoEuro 2024 Qualifying - Group H

          Team logoDenmark
          Team logoSlovenia
          Team logoFinland
          Team logoKazakhstan
          Team logoN. Ireland
          Team logoSan Marino
          Last updated 19/04/2024

          Where To Watch

          The game will be live for all subscribed U.K. viewers on Viaplay Sports 1 while full radio coverage will be provided by BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT.