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21.08.2002 at 00:00 Helsinki Attendance: 12225
Finland 0 - 3 Republic of Ireland
Referee: R Pedersen (Norway) Friendly-match

Goalscorers
None Robbie Keane (12)
Colin Healy (74)
Graham Barrett (83)
Opening squads
Jaaskelainen,(Bolton W)
Pasanen (Ajax)
Thinen (Anderlecht)
Hypia (Liverpool)
Saarinen (Rosenborg)
Nurmela(Heerenveen)
Hola (HJK)
Tainio (Auxerre)
Kolkka (Panaithaikos)
Litmanen (Liverpool)
Johannsson (Charlton Ath)
Dean Kiely
Gary Breen
Gary Kelly
Ian Harte
Kenny Cunningham
Lee Carsley
Jason Mc Ateer
Thomas Butler
Mark Kinsella
Damien Duff
Robbie Keane
Substitutes
Shay Given
Gary Breen
Gary Doherty
Jim Goodwin
Colin Healy
Stephen Mc Phail
Rory Delap
Kevin Kilbane
Matt Holland
Graham Barrett
Substitutions
Kulvasto (Viking Stavanger) for Hypia ht,
Riihalahti (Crystal Pal) for Hola,60
Kuqi (Sheff Wed) for Johannson,60
Kottila (HJK) for Kolkka, 79
Hietanen(Denilspor) for Tainio ,81
Gary Doherty -> Kenny Cunningham (45)
Stephen Mc Phail -> Jason Mc Ateer (45)
Kevin Kilbane -> Thomas Butler (45)
Colin Healy -> Mark Kinsella (45)
Rory Delap -> Damien Duff (45)
Shay Given -> Dean Kiely (76)
Graham Barrett -> Ian Harte (76)
Jim Goodwin -> Robbie Keane (83)
Matt Holland -> Lee Carsley (86)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Match report | Preview
Finland 0, Ireland 3

The old order changeth for Ireland and in more ways than one. There were three debutants and eight substitutions over the 90 minutes but Ireland hammered Finland in the Olympic Stadium.
Seldom have Ireland harvested such a generous bounty from relatively few chances.

Because of this, there was nothing but good news from a match that provided Ireland with a welcome opportunity to rehearse their excellent World Cup habits prior to the resumption of competitive action in a little over two weeks in Moscow. It scarcely mattered that the handsome scoreline flattered them.

The good news began with Robbie Keane, intent it seems on rewriting Ireland’s goal-scoring records with all possible haste.

He claimed the first goal within 12 minutes of the start after a predictable link-up with Damien Duff.

The optimistic message was carried a step further with an emphatic strike by Colin Healy that produced a first Irish goal for the Celtic midfielder. He drove a headed pass from Rory Delap through Finland’s defences with controlled power from 18 yards after 74 minutes.

Finally, there was an explosive start to his senior career for the youthful Greg Barrett, the Arsenal reserve. Barrett played for 45 minutes for Ireland’s Under-21 team on the previous evening and within six minutes of his introduction last night, he fired home a pass from Healy with eight minutes to full-time.

It seems almost churlish to point out that Finland had at least as much of the play as Ireland. They caused the Irish defence infinitely more trouble than was indicated by their barren return.

Truth was that after a bright opening 20 minutes, Ireland were reeling to half-time. Finland controlled midfield, stretched Ireland’s defence through the good work of Nurmela on the right wing, the hard grafting of Tainio in midfield, and the clever passing of Jari Litmanen.

They caused Ireland particular problems in the air. Sami Hyypia came forward with menace for their set-pieces and Ireland’s centre-back pairing of Gary Breen and Kenny Cunningham had trouble countering him and the athletic Johansson of Charlton.

Dean Kiely was very assured in goal, however, and his confident play underlined how well off Ireland are for goalkeepers. The highlight of his performance was a save he made after 27 minutes when Jason McAteer lost possession on half-way and Tainio found Litmanen just outside the Irish penalty area.

His shot was heading for the far corner and Kiely was at full stretch to turn it outside.

Finland were wasteful of other chances, however, and this compromised them. Ilola headed over from ten yards when Pasanen’s cross afforded him a clear sight of goal after 55 minutes. It was Litmanen who kept the flame of their ambition alight with a glorious attempt from 20 yards that swerved just the wrong side of the upright after 71 minutes.

By then, however, Ireland had made several substitutions and they were operating to greater effect. Healy made a big impression when he came on to play wide on the right, as did Kevin Kilbane on the left. McAteer had a poor first half and while Thomas Butler showed his undoubted talent, he suffered from a lack of physique on the left wing, where the more powerful Pasanen choked off his path to goal after the opening quarter.

The introduction of Delap at centre-forward and Gary Doherty at centre-back also helped, for they were able to mix it more with Finland in the air, and Ireland were much more aggressive in their attitude in the second half. Thus, they broke out of defence repeatedly to penetrate Finland’s defences with more regularity. Stephen McPhail was a contributor here with his constructive play just behind the strikers, and with Kilbane outsprinting his immediate opponent several times, and Healy always composed and constructive on the ball on the opposite flank, Ireland were full of threat in attack.

Their first goal owed much to the clever chipped pass of Mark Kinsella over the top of Finland’s defence that was turned past the goalkeeper by Duff for Keane to run the ball over the line. It was Keane’s 14th goal for Ireland.

McPhail had a big part in the second, for his chipped pass from the left of the penalty area was headed down by Delap for Healy to volley it home. And Healy took a good cross from Kilbane wide of two tackles, before stepping back to allow Barrett rifle the third home. Ireland were close to capitalising upon all of their scoring chances and that can only be good.

FINLAND (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Pasanen, Tihinen, Hyypia (Kuivasto 46), Saarinen; Nurmela (Kopteff 69), Ilola (Rihilahti 59), Tainio (Hietanen 80), Kolkka (Kottila 78); Litmanen, Johansson (Kuqi 59).

IRELAND (4-4-2): Kiely; Kelly, Breen, Cunningham (Doherty 46), Harte (Barrett 76); McAteer (Healy 46), Carsley (Holland 87), Kinsella (McPhail 46), Butler (Kilbane 46); Robbie Keane (Goodwin 83), Duff (Delap 46).

Referee: R. Pedersen (Norway).
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