Teemu Pukki rounded off his international break in fashion on Monday night, as he scored his tenth goal of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, days after seeing Finland through to their first ever major tournament.
After reaching automatic qualification in Group J of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, there was nothing to lose going into this game against Greece. Win lose or draw, rest assured there was a spot with their name on it in next year’s tournament.
The Pukki party wasn’t looking to stop, either. A right footed effort from the centre of the Greece box firmly nestled in the bottom right corner just before the half-hour mark, starting the game in the right way for Finland, and giving Pukki his tenth goal in as many games this qualifying campaign.
Greece were looking to end their qualifiers on a high-note, however, coming out for the second-half and scoring within two minutes. The levelling goal came from Petros Mantalos, who made sure to see the gap close with a close range shot to the bottom corner.
Following the leveller, Greece decided to go looking for the winner. Hard work paid off for the home side, scoring in the 70th minute, as Konstantinos Galanopoulos brought a sense of déjà vu, finding the goal in a way very similar to their first to bring the tally to 2-1 and finish their campaign with a win.
Elsewhere, Michael McGovern made the bench for both of Northern Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Germany. Jamal Lewis also featured in the squad, starting against the Netherlands until an injury forced him off the pitch, missing out on the Germany game. Northern Ireland drew 0-0 with the Netherlands, and lost 6-1 to Germany, following a hat-trick for Serge Gnabry, a brace for Leon Goretzka and a goal for Julian Brandt, ending Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the Euros.
At Under-21s level, Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons were both part of the squad for England in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier game against Albania, and in their international friendly against the Netherlands. Godfrey played the full 90 minutes against Albania, as they won 3-0 over the side, whilst being benched against the Netherlands in their 2-1 loss. Meanwhile, Aarons was benched against Albania, but made the starting XI against the Netherlands.
Turning attention to the Republic of Ireland U21s, Adam Idah made the starting XI for both fixtures against Armenia and Sweden, games which the Irish side won 1-0 and 4-1. The victories sweet, but what made it even sweeter for Idah was scoring a goal and bagging an assist against the Swedish side, rounding off his international break in style.