Brentford B midfield player Jaakko Oksanen was a member of the Finland team cruelly denied a memorable win in the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championships last night. Finland Under-19 had come from behind to lead Norway 2-1 going in to the final moments of their Group A clash. But Norway equalised in the dying seconds and still had time to grab a winner to deny Finland even a point.
Jaakko played 90 minutes in the match, which swung one way and then the other. Norway went ahead early on but Finland turned the game around with goals either side of half time. As the game entered the final minutes Finland had the lead but two goals from balls in to the penalty area undid them and Norway took the win.
That means it is two defeats in two for Jaakko and Finland but they can still reach the last four. Italy beat Portugal in the other game in Group A yesterday and have two wins from two. If Finland can beat Portugal on Sunday, 22 July, they could reach the Semi-Finals next Thursday, 26 July. Teams that finish third in their group, which is also a possibility for Finland, will have an extra game as a play-off for a place in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2019, which will be held in Poland next summer. The final is on Sunday 29 July.
Jaakko has played in both games for Finland despite being just 17 and two years younger than many that will be involved. He now has 12 caps at Under-19 level and was 16 when he made his Under-19 debut against Georgia in October. He has also represented his country at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level.
Later today England Under-19 are in action in Group B of the tournament. Brentford goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe is in the England squad and played as they beat Turkey on Tuesday. England’s next game is against Ukraine tonight and they then face France next Monday.
Ellery has been part of the Under-19 squad for the past year and played in two of England’s three matches in the final qualifying round for the competition. Ellery has six Under-19 caps in total and has also represented England at Under-18 level. The 18-year-old, who has ten international appearances to his credit overall, was in the England Under-20 squad that won the prestigious Toulon Tournament last summer and was called-up as a training goalkeeper for the same event this summer. This year an England Under-21 team won the tournament with Ellery part of the wider squad. Ellery signed a four-year contract with The Bees last month and was promoted to the First Team group.