On Tuesday, Finland will be looking to clinch their first win of the current edition of the UEFA Nations League when they play host to Montenegro.
The visitors, meanwhile, will be aiming to claim back-to-back victories after beginning their campaign with a 2-0 win over Romania.
After missing out on World Cup qualification, the Nations League takes centre stage for Finland in 2022, with the tournament offering a potential path to Euro 2024.
To reach the Euro 2024 qualifying playoffs, Finland know that they must top a group that features Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania and Montenegro.
A first place finish will also result in promotion to League A, and their quest for promotion looked set to get off to a flying start after taking a lead into stoppage time in Saturday’s contest with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
However, hopes of a victory were crushed by Smail Prevljak, who grabbed a 93rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Teemu Pukki‘s first half penalty.
The defeat extended Finland’s winless run to four matches, although they can take inspiration from the fact that they have lost just one of their previous six Nations League contests.
While their hosts are taking part in their second League B campaign, Montenegro are appearing in the second tier of the Nations League for the very first time.
In the 2020-21 edition of the competition, Montenegro managed to win promotion after collecting 13 points from their six matches to top a group that featured Luxembourg, Azerbaijan and Cyprus.
They have already adapted well to their new surroundings, beating Romania 2-0 on Saturday thanks to goals from Stefan Mugosa and Marko Vukcevic.
The result against Romania helped Montenegro secure consecutive victories, and they will now head on their travels for an away contest in Finland.
Montenegro may have lost three of their last four away internationals, but their away record in the Nations League is impressive, having lost just one of their six away games in the competition.
Finland operated with wing-backs against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the hosts are expected to continue with the 5-3-2 formation that was utilised in the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
After going so close to claiming a victory in the opening game, Markku Kanerva could name an unchanged lineup for Monday’s contest.
Pukki will be one of the home side’s main goal threats, and the Norwich striker enters the encounter in fine international form after scoring five goals across his last seven appearances for his country.
As for Montenegro, they are expected to name an unchanged back four after keeping a clean sheet against Romania.
Despite coming off the bench to score Montenegro’s second goal on Saturday, Marko Vukcevic may have to settle for a place amongst the substitutes.
There could be a change in midfield, with Drasko Bozovic in contention for a starting place, while Mugosa will continue to lead the line after scoring in the 2-0 victory at the weekend.
Finland possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Alho, Ivanov, O’Shaughnessy, Vaisanen, Uronen; Schuller, Kamara, Nissila; Lod, Pukki
Montenegro possible starting lineup:
Mijatovic; Vesovic, Vujacic, Tomasevic, A. Vukcevic; Marusic, Bozovic, Raickovic, Haksabanovic; Jankovic; Mugosa