St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) – Lost in the background, due to Christian Eriksen fainting during Denmark’s match against Finland in the European Championship, and the score remained after the start of the second half.
In their first major participation in the tournament, the Finns secured a 1-0 win in Copenhagen.
Perhaps it will end up being one of the least remembered results in the history of the competition, given what happened with Eriksen. In fact, Finnish captain Tim Sparff said that they just celebrated in the locker room.
“It was all very quiet,” Sparf said. “This is understandable.”
Finland will suddenly be able to unleash the euphoria.
The move to the knockout stage of Euro 2020 will be decided if they defeat Russia on Wednesday.
It’s something Finnish football hasn’t paid off in over a century – since a 2-1 victory at the 1912 Olympics, when Finland was under the tutelage of Russia – but the Finns could have waited that long.
Russia lost 3-0 to Belgium in their first appearance in the second set, their biggest loss in the European Championship. They have barely won three of their last 12 matches.
Injuries contributed to two of the five adjustments that Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov had to make 63 minutes before the match against Belgium. But the hasty manner in which he kicked his board indicates just how upset he was with his team.
Finland, for its part, was a model of the collectivist system under Marco Kanerva, who was an elementary school teacher. And now they arrive full of confidence after the biggest resounding victory in the national team’s history.
5,000 Finnish fans are expected inside the Saint Petersburg stadium, with a maximum capacity of 30,500, in a city less than 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the Finnish border.
“Traveling to Copenhagen or Saint Petersburg is ideal for our people,” Kanerva said.
But Kanerva fears that its players will be shocked by what happened to Eriksen.
You cannot calculate how the Eriksen incident will affect everyone. “Of course we keep that in mind,” he said. “It is not easy at all to focus on football again because there are more important things”