SportsInjuries Take Toll As Northern Ireland Slump To Heavy Loss In Finland

Injuries Take Toll As Northern Ireland Slump To Heavy Loss In Finland

November 17, (THEWILL) – Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2024 European Championships were dealt a significant blow on Friday evening, as they suffered a comprehensive 4-0 defeat to Finland in Helsinki. The loss was Northern Ireland’s seventh in nine qualifying matches so far and leaves manager Michael O’Neill’s injury-hit side with little chance of progression from Group H.

Despite starting brightly, Northern Ireland fell behind just before half-time when Joel Pohjanpalo converted a penalty after Teemu Pukki was fouled in the box. Finland took control after the break, with goals from Daniel Hakans, Pukki and Robin Lod inflicting further misery on the visitors.

O’Neill was forced to field an inexperienced side due to 12 first-team players missing through injury, including regular starters Jonny Evans, Corry Evans and Josh Magennis. The lack of depth showed, as Finland’s superior quality prevailed in the second half.

The comprehensive nature of the defeat compounds a miserable campaign so far for Northern Ireland. They have won just three of their last 16 matches and scored only three goals in their nine Euro 2024 qualifiers. With matches against top seeds Denmark still to come, progression to the finals in Germany next summer now appears a distant prospect.

The last time Northern Ireland played in Helsinki in 2015, they secured qualification for Euro 2016. Eight years on, this heavy defeat demonstrated the impact of injuries in progression, leaving O’Neill to imagine what could have been with a full strength squad.

About the Author

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Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.

Jude Obafemi, THEWILLhttps://thewillnews.com
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.

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