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Finland kick-start Euros bid with win in Belfast

The Huuhkajat hero on the night was Benjamin Källman, who has now scored 5 goals in his first 11 international appearances.

Benjamin Källman on juuri ohittanut maalivahti Bailey Peacock-Farrellin laukauksellaan. Pallo on pyörimässä maaliin.
A goal by Benjamin Källman in the first half secured the three points for Finland. Image: Charles McQuillan / Getty Images
Yle News

Finland's men's football team claimed a 1-0 victory away to Northern Ireland in Belfast on Sunday evening in a European Championship qualifier.

Benjamin Källman scored the only goal of the game after 28 minutes, latching onto a pass from strike partner Teemu Pukki. The goal was Källman's fifth for Finland, on only his 11th appearance.

"We knew that the game would be difficult and that we would have to fight to the end for the victory. But it's all the tastier when it comes after such hard work," Källman told Yle Sport after the game.

The result means the Huuhkajat, or Eagle Owls, bid to qualify for the Euro 2024 finals is back on track following a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Denmark last Thursday in the group's opening game.

Northern Ireland made a number of chances to equalise, and even had the ball in the net in the second half but the effort was chalked off for handball. Despite some nervy moments, especially towards the end of the game, Finland's defence held strong to secure the three points.

"It wasn't the prettiest win, but taking three points home is the most important thing. This was a really important result for us. No matter where we are, we have to try to get the three points," Finland's manager Markku Kanerva said.

Finland's next games in the group will be home ties against Slovenia on 16 June and against San Marino three days later.

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