Finland stand on the brink of football history after a 3-0 victory over Armenia left them within touching distance of qualification for the 2020 European Championships.
The ‘Eagle Owls’, who have never qualified for a major tournament before, went ahead in the first half when Fredrik Jensen flicked the ball home after Armenia goalkeeper Aram Airapetyan flapped at a cross.
Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki added two more in the second half to bring his tally to seven goals in his last eight games for Finland.
The victory put a spring back in Finland’s step after a deflating 4-1 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica on Saturday.
“It was important after the loss to Bosnia to get a good result and play a good game,” said Pukki. “This is a good base for the final two games.”
The in-form 29-year-old has also scored six goals in eight games in his first Premier League season, and was the focus of a publicity stunt on Tuesday morning when Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne tweeted (siirryt toiseen palveluun) a picture of the Norwich shirt he’d been sent as a gift.
Last month Rinne handed (siirryt toiseen palveluun) French President Emmanuel Macron a Finland shirt emblazoned with Pukki’s name as a gift during an official visit.
Finland’s final two games of the qualifiers are at home against Liechtenstein and away against Greece in November. As Bosnia lost 2-1 to Greece later on Tuesday evening, Finland just need to beat Liechtenstein in Helsinki to qualify for the final tournament.
EDIT 16.10.2019: Edited to add Bosnia result and implications for Finland's progression.