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Aapo Virtanen: The Finn in Florence

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ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2019-05-17 15:50
gb 1983 posts 341 likes joined Apr 04, 2016
Pohjanpalo is a national hero. Onto Croatia!
Jack's avatar Group Jack 2019-05-17 20:49
gb 3451 posts 387 likes joined Mar 29, 2013

Aapo Virtanen has masterminded an unbelievable 2-1 victory over Croatia as Saku Ylatupa netted a brace in extra-time for Finland.

No person would have thought that Finland could even get through their European Championships group with the likes of Spain, Austria and Poland all present, but the miracle worker that is Aapo Virtanen has taken his home nation to the next level.

His team once again lined up in Virtanen's new defensive 5-1-3-1 formation that has been used only in this competition and only against arguably tougher opposition. Croatia went with a standard 4-2-3-1 formation.

In the 16th minute, Croatia had a goal ruled out by VAR due to Andrej Kramaric being offside from Vlasic's cross.

With Croatia completely dominating the fixture and their team constantly on the attack, Finland withstanded their bombardment for the entire 90 minutes before the referee called full time on normal time with a goalless draw, leading up to the extra-time period.

Straight away it took Finland one instant counter attack with Maximus Tainio leading the way down the right flank before playing a ball inside the box to Saku Ylatupa who smashed the ball home in the 92nd minute to give Finland a shock 1-0 lead very early in extra-time.

After half-time in extra-time, once again it was almost immediately after the break where Finland managed to double their lead over the 2018 World Cup runners-up. With a well-worked spell of passing beginning from within their own penalty area, one of Virtanen's Oulu old boys Oliver Antman supplied the assist for Finland's 2nd goal as he split the Croatia defence apart with one pass to Ylatupa who finished his one-on-one with ease.

With Finland 2-0 up heading into the additional time of one minute, after a poor defensive header away from a long ball by Croatia's goalkeeper, Maximus Tainio headed the ball into the path of Ante Rebic who glided past three more Finnish players before hammering the ball past Hradecky in what turned out to be a consolation goal for Croatia.

With the Finnish fans jubilant with a delightful extra-time performance from Saku Ylatupa, it was later announced that Finland would play the reigning world champions and their group stage rivals Spain in the semi-finals, with France vs England in the other semi-final.
TheLFCFan's avatar Group TheLFCFan 2019-05-17 20:52
00 179 posts 25 likes joined Sep 30, 2014
Wow! What a run! Have faith you can see off Spain, especially with this new formation that seems to be doing wonders!
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2019-05-18 09:41
gb 1983 posts 341 likes joined Apr 04, 2016
Yet another huge, memorable victory for the nation of Finland. Spain will be a tricky hurdle to overcome, but if you want to win the World Cup, you have to beat the best. It will be a huge accomplishment to have got this far, regardless.
SonOfAnarchy's avatar Group SonOfAnarchy 2019-05-18 12:27
00 83 posts 7 likes joined Jan 11, 2019
Tremendous stuff, Jack. Finland are on the cusp of greatness. Regardless off the outcome, i think Aapo can get away with anything now ;)
Justice's avatar Group Justice 2019-05-18 19:38
00 5596 posts 703 likes joined Feb 11, 2013
Right, another host of updates to read through!

Congrats on securing Champions League football with Fiorentina! You had a massive task to complete when you arrived mid-season and you have more than come out on top!

As for the Finnish journey, when will their Euro run Finnish? Now, go put the PAIN in SPAIN!

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