‘Finland-Spain is David vs. Goliath’

Mixu Paatelainen has named his Finland squad to face Spain next month and labelled the fixture as a clash between David and Goliath.

The Finnish held La Roja to a 1-1 draw in Gijon in March and head into the reverse fixture at Helsinki’s Olymiastadion this September 6 with just the one notable absence in midfielder Perparim Hetemaj.

The Chievo player is included in the latest squad, but is unavailable to Paatelainen for the home qualifier against La Roja through suspension.

The other 22 players listed by the former striker for the game are seen as the strongest available to him, with Hetemaj then back in contention for September 10’s qualifier with Georgia.

With three games left in Group I, Finland sit third behind Spain and France, aware that results in the next round of fixtures could see them unable to even reach the play-offs.

“Spain know we can hinder their game, we are capable of neutralising their excellent attack,” Paatelainen told reporters in announcing his squad.

“Even so, what we accomplished in Gijon will not guarantee anything, it is in the past. This is going to be a clash of David and Goliath.”

Finland squad to play Spain: Mäenpää (VVV Venlo-HOL), Hradecky (Esbjerg-DIN), Sillanpää (VPS-FIN), Halsti (Malmö-SUE), Pasanen (AGF Århus-DIN), Lampi (Arsenal Kiev-UCR), Toivio (Molde-NOR), Raitala (Heerenveen-HOL), Ojala (Terek Grozny-RUS), Sumusalo (HJK-FIN), Moisander (Ajax-HOL), Arkivuo (BK Häcken-SUE), Hämäläinen (Lech Poznan-POL), Sparv (Greuther Fürth-ALE), Ring (Kaiserslautern-ALE), Kolehmainen (Hønefoss BK-NOR), Roman Eremenko (Rubin Kazan-RUS), Tainio (HJK-FIN), Schüller (HJK-FIN), Hetemaj (Chievo Verona-ITA), Pukki (Schalke 04-ALE), Riski (Hønefoss BK-NOR), Zeneli (HJK-FIN)

Tags Finland Hetemaj Paatalainen Spain