Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Nations League clash between Romania and Finland, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Romania head in hers UEFA Nations League attachment with Finland started in Group B3 with back-to-back losses.
In contrast, Finland have four points from two games and a win on Saturday night would realistically mean that relegation from the third division is no longer an option.
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When the draw was made, it was expected that the four nations would take points from each other, as promotion and relegation would be decided by a narrow margin.
That was largely true, with Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro each claiming a win from their opening two games.
However, Romania remain bottom of the table with two defeats and no goal. Edward Jordanescu left under pressure to try and turn things around over the next week.
That might prove a lot easier said than done, as Romania have only managed two wins over Armenia and Liechtenstein in nine attempts.
Three of their last four games have been played away, with a draw in Israel before losses to Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In stark contrast, Finland are largely on an upward trajectory, with two of their four defeats since Euro 2020 coming from France.
At the end of last year, Markku Kanerva has witnessed his side’s victories in Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina and they go into that tie with an excellent 2-0 win over Montenegro.
Both goals failed Joel Pohjanpalothe Bayer Leverkusen man who is now in double figures for his country and backing the efforts of his legendary teammate Teemu Pukki.
This game is only the fourth competitive match between the nations ever, the last time being in October 2015 when they drew 1-1 in qualifying ahead of Euro 2016.
Form of the Romanian Nations League:
Romania form (all competitions):
Form of the Finnish Nations League:
Form Finland (all competitions):
A number of changes could potentially be made in the final third of Romania. Andrei Ivan seems most likely to return on the left.
Andrei Ratiu and Nikusor Bancu are both options in the full-back areas if Iordanescu decides to add some fresh legs on the flanks.
After some Finnish players built a two-goal lead ahead of the last quarter against Montenegro, Kanerva rested some players.
That could result in the same starting line-up being selected for this competition, a decision that would result in an experienced midfielder Rasmus Schuller remain among the substitutes.
Romania possible starting line-up:
Nita; Rus, Burca, Chiriches; Manea, R. Marin, M. Marin, Camora; Cicaldau, Ivan; puskas
Finland possible starting line-up:
Hradecky; Vaisanen, Ivanov, Jensen; Granlund, Lingman, Kamara, Niskanen; Lod, Pohjanpalo, Pukki
We say: Romania 1:1 Finland
The form book suggests that Finland remains on course for promotion and Romania is pushing towards the exit door of the second division. However, despite the lack of goals, we are helping Romania to find some form in front of their own fans, even if it might only be enough for part of the loot.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
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 football best tips.Under 3.5:Data