Sports Mole preview Tuesday’s Nations League clash between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Finland, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Bosnia Herzegovina will be keen to maintain its position at the top of League B Group 3 in the UEFA Nations League if Finland Visit Zenica for Tuesday’s encounter.
Ivaylo PetevAt the weekend, the team had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Montenegro, while the visitors’ trip to Romania ended in a 1-0 defeat.
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Bosnia were quickly dismissed without a single point from League A in the Nations League last season but Petev’s side are making an early claim for a return to the big days after an unbeaten start to life back in the second tier.
Sticking to their motto of only scoring one goal over the course of 90 minutes, Bosnia batted first through the substitute Luke Menalo just before the hour, but Adam Marusic restored parity for Montenegro to prevent Petev’s men from further distracting the summit.
The world-ranked 59th nation is still on course for rapid rise as they lead by five points, but all three teams below them are still within reach in the incredibly hard-fought period ahead of the September reunion.
Bosnia doesn’t have a World Cup to consider after failing miserably to prevail in Qatar, but Petev, at least now, has managed a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions, even if just four of his last 26 games have ended in victory.
Finland, meanwhile, have weathered the true definition of a patchy start to the 2022-23 Nations League, but any hopes of a third unbeaten game were dashed on their recent trip to Romania.
George Puscas He may have missed an early chance to put Romania ahead from the penalty spot, but he made no mistake in the preparation Nikusor Bancu for the only goal of the game in the 30th minute, and a relatively strong Finnish side had no response in Bucharest.
With one win, one draw and one loss in Group 3 of League B, Finland currently sit second in the table, but embryonic top spot is arguably meaningless in such a tightly contested group.
A very first qualification for the European Championship did not lead to a first participation in the World Cup Markku Kanervawho had come so close and yet so far to beat Bosnia on home soil earlier in the month Smail Prevlyak saved a point in the 93rd minute of the contest.
Form of Nations League Bosnia-Herzegovina:
Form Bosnia-Herzegovina (all competitions):
Form of the Finnish Nations League:
Form Finland (all competitions):
Bosnia didn’t lose a player to injury or suspension in their recent draw with Montenegro, but they did lose wingers Haris Duljewic was a notable absentee from the squad after receiving a caution against Romania.
Dino Hotic was sacrificed for Menalo on Saturday night and will expect to cede his place to the Dinamo Zagreb man from the start Eldar Civic and Seed Kolasinac will continue their fight for the place at left-back.
Edin Dzeko Didn’t last the full 90 minutes over the weekend so might be fine on Tuesday night Ermedin Demirovic is on standby.
In contrast, Finland’s defensive ranks were thinned out thereafter Daniel O’Shaughnessy was substituted off in the defeat by Romania with a broken fibula and the 27-year-old is expected to spend the next three months recovering.
Richard Jensen, Miro Tenho and Saul Vaisanen are all on hand to cover O’Shaughnessy this week while Luke Hradecky will aim to return to goal for the visitors.
With Kanerva demanding one last push from his players before the start of the holidays, Pukki and Joel Pohjanpalo likely to form their strike partnership again.
Bosnia-Herzegovina possible starting line-up:
Sehic; Sucic, Hadzikadunic, Ahmedhodzic, Civic; Gojak, Prcic, Pjanic, Menalo; Dzeko, Demirovic
Finland possible starting line-up:
Hradecky; Alho, Ivanov, Jensen, L. Vaisanen, Uronen; Kamara, Schuller; lod; Pukki, Pohjanpalo
We say: Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-0 Finland
Poor chances have been the theme in this group so far and we can imagine a similar affair between two teams who were almost inseparable in the last encounter and are hardly the most feared teams on the attacking front.
Kanerva has plenty of options in his defensively oriented set-up to cover for O’Shaughnessy and it can go a full 90 minutes without the net rippling once in this competition.
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Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Under 3.5:Data