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Eagle-owl hopes soar as Finland prepares to face Russia in St. Petersburg showdown

Finland's victory over Denmark in Copenhagen has significantly increased their chances of advancing to the knock-out stage.

Spelarna tackar de tillresta finländska fansen för stödet på Parken.
Finnish players and supporters celebrate after the 1-0 victory over Denmark in the Parken Stadium, Copenhagen on Saturday. Image: EPA-EFE/All Over Press

Finland's 1-0 victory over Denmark in their opening game of the European Championship finals on Saturday has raised expectations that the team could advance to the knock-out stages of the tournament.

According to data analyst Micah Blace McCurdy, Finland now has a 74 percent probability of advancing from the group stage while number-crunching website The Analyst puts the Huuhkajat, or Eagle-Owls', chances at 71 percent - with a second place finish in the group the most likely outcome.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the knock-out stage automatically, while the four best third-placed teams out of the six groups also advance.

This means that with three points already on the board after the victory over Denmark in Copenhagen, Finland could seal a place in the next round as early as Wednesday, when they travel to St. Petersburg to play Russia.

A win against Russia, who lost their opening game 3-0 to Belgium, would guarantee that Finland advances, but even a draw might be enough if the much-fancied Belgians win all three of their group games.

Number crunching

If Finland finishes in second place, they will play the second placed team from Group A, which consists of Italy, Turkey, Wales and Switzerland.

However, if Denmark beats Russia and Russia defeats Finland, the situation will become more complicated, especially if all three teams also lose to Belgium as they would then each be on three points.

Which teams advance will then be decided by their head-to-head performance against one another. If this fails to differentiate the nations, the group's final standings will be determined by factors such as goal difference, number of goals scored and even disciplinary record.

Finland will face Russia on Wednesday 16 June at 16:00 Finnish time. The game will be broadcast on Yle TV2 and also live-streamed on Yle Areena. Denmark will play Belgium in Copenhagen on Thursday, with kick off at 18:00 EET.

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