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Finland and Iceland eliminated from UEFA Youth qualifiers

Oksanen and Finnsson on duty in European tournaments

17 October 2018

Finland Under-19s have been eliminated from their qualifying group for the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Armenia. Fighting it out for two of four places in next March's Elite Qualifying Round, Finland finished third in Group 2 and will not advance futher.

Jaako Oksanen captained his side through 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Estonia, the hosts of the group stage. He also picked up a yellow card in the first half of an end-to-end tie under the guidance of Head Coach Kai Nyyssonen. The Brentford B midfielder was named in the qualifying squad last month alongside fellow English-based players Maximus Tainio (Tottenham Hotspur) and Otto Huuhtanen (Newcastle united).

Their campaign started on Wednesday 10 October with a 0-0 draw to neighbours Denmark, while last year's Euro 2018 runners-up Italy hammered Estonia 3-0. The following Saturday saw Finland fall to the same scoreline as Italy continued their dominance. With Denmark beating Estonia 3-0, last year's tournament hosts needed a big result to go their way if they were to qualify for the Elite Round.

Finland U19s needed Denmark to lose heavily to Italy, then win their own game against Estonia. As it turned out, a 0-0 was never going to be enough for Nyyssonen's side, which meant The Danes losing 1-0 to Italy only mattered to the nations involved.

In Reykjavik, Kolbeinn Finnsson was once again an unused substitute in his first call-up to the Under-21s. The team lost 7-2 to Spain U21 in their final qualifier for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

The result did nothing to alter the fina standings in Group 2 as Spain were guaranteed a top spot finish, and a place at next summer's competition, before kick-off. Iceland were also going nowhere higher or lower than fourth in the six-team group stage. Northern Ireland and Slovakia finished above them, while Albania and Estonia were the teams below.

Iceland's campaign saw them pick up three victories, two draws and five defeats in their attempt to reach Italy 2019. The journey started with a shock defeat to Albania, 3-2 in September 2017, before a 2-0 win over Slovakia a month later. They then drew the return fixture with Albania 0-0 away from home but were able to hold the Spanish to just a 1-0 defeat in November.

A 3-2 win over Estonia saw them shoot up the rankings with Spain putting five past Slovakia and then Northern Ireland as well. A goalless draw followed against the Irish in March this year, then a 5-2 win over Estonia just last month. With three games to go, Iceland squandered their chance to qualify with three defeats in a row. First, a 3-2 loss at the hands of Slovakia in September, a 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland last week and then yesterday's 7-2 defeat to Spain.

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