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Ergebnis: 2:0 (1:0)
Eingetragen von: baseline
Ouhuu ...., said the owl
The EURO 2008 Qualifiers again and this time Finland against Belgium. A warm June evening with plus 28 C. “Baseline” could still remember the match against Armenia in November in zero degrees temperature with drizzling rain. To day was much better and after loosing the two last games, this had to be the turning point for the Finnish national team.
The Finnish coach, Roy Hodgeson, had made many changes in the team. As a surprise Eremenko Jr was back now with his younger brother Roman (20) who played his first game with the national team. Litmanen was not even with the substitutes due to his injury against Serbia.
The start again was terrifying. The Belgian striker Emile Penza was up in less than two minutes and in a position to place a header against the Finnish goal missing by a few inches. The Finns warmed up little by little and attacks were dominantly directed toward the Belgian goal.
Then something happened that was a new experience to the referee, Michael Riley of England, as to many others. An eagle owl entered flying from one goal to the other resting occasionally on the pitch in between. The 35000 supporters on site were cheering happily of course. After a while the owl decided to take a seat behind the Finnish goal and watch the game from there. At sunset, it finally left for good to hunt for food somewhere else.
In any case this incident gave both coaches an extra six minutes to brief the teams. At 27 minutes Joonas Kolkka could run forward on the left side and pass the ball over to Jonatan Johansson within the penalty area. His shot was out of reach of the Belgian keeper Stijn Stijnen and 1-0 was a fact. This was also the half-time result.
At 52 minutes Marouane Fellani gets a second yellow and is out of the game. This comes as a relief for Finland, of course.
At 71 minutes Alexei Eremenko Jr gets a long pass and runs forward, enters the penalty area and scores 2-0 in the upper corner.
This end result gives Finland still a chance in the EURO 2008 Qualifiers especially since Armenia defeated Poland a few hours earlier.
Note: The picture of the eagle owl is copied from the homepage of the Football Association of Finland.
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