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Finland suffer narrow defeat in Under-19 Euro Opener

Jaakko Oksanen plays 90 minutes in 1-0 loss to Italy

17 July 2018

Depsite a courageous showing against one of the powerhouses of European football, Finland's Under-19 European Championship campaign got off to a defeat on home soil last night.

Playing their first ever game in the Under-19 Euro finals, having failed to qualify for the previous 16 editions of the tournament, Juha Malinen's side went into the game as rank outsiders, having lost to The Azzurri 5-0 in a friendly last year. 

However, despite having to withstand some early pressure, The Finns grew into the game and could have taken the lead on the half-hour as Eetu Vermainen brought a fine save out of the Italian goalkeeper. Vermainen passed up another good opportunity shortly afterwards before Italy struck, what proved to be, the decisive blow; Nicolo Zaniolo holding off a Finnish defender before sliding home from 12 yards. 

It was a much tighter game after the break, however, the best of the chances came Finland's way with Alessandro Plizzari making two fine saves to deny Saku Ylätupa and then Oksanen late on. 

Full highlights of the game can be watched below

The cap was Jaakko's 10th for his nation at Under-19 level. The Finns are back in action in Seinajoki on Thursday when they face Norway, who lost 3-1 to Portugal in Monday's other game. 

There could be further Brentford involvement this afternoon as Ellery Balcombe and England get their title defence underway against Turkey. The match kicks-off at 4.30pm in Seinajoki and will be shown live on Sky Sports. 

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