International Friendlies
FinlandFinland0WalesWales0

Finland 0-0 Wales: Harry Wilson misses penalty in friendly draw

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales
Harry Wilson missed a golden chance to give Wales victory in Finland from the penalty spot
Harry Wilson missed a golden chance from the penalty spot to give Wales victory in Finland

A depleted Wales side were held to a goalless friendly draw by Finland in Helsinki.

The much-changed and youthful visitors controlled the first half but squandered its best chance as Harry Wilson's penalty was saved by Carljohan Eriksson.

Finland's goalkeeper denied Wilson again after the break as he pushed away his free-kick.

Gareth Bale made a late substitute appearance and almost marked his cameo with a goal, but volleyed one shot over the bar and fired another straight at Eriksson.

As much as the Real Madrid forward would have enjoyed adding to his record tally of 33 goals for Wales' men's senior team, the result was of no great significance to Robert Page's men.

This was very much a shadow Wales team, with 10 players ruled out and other key figures such as Bale and defender Ben Davies benched with upcoming World Cup qualifiers in mind.

Their understudies started confidently in Helsinki, keeping the ball comfortably and switching positions in a fluid 3-4-3 formation.

It was Wales' least experienced player of all, 20-year-old Brennan Johnson, who won the penalty as he made his first start for his country - beating Niko Hamalainen before being fouled by the Finnish defender.

Wilson's penalty was tame, struck low to the goalkeeper's right and saved by debutant Eriksson with relative ease.

Finland posed more of a threat in the second half but struggled to fashion genuine scoring opportunities against an organised Welsh defence.

The hosts were instead limited to hopeful long-range shots from Fredrik Jensen, while Wilson's free-kick and Matt Smith's low strike which went narrowly wide were among Wales' better efforts.

Robert Page: Wales boss pleased with 'positive' draw in Finland

Weakened Wales look to Russia

While Wales were weakened by enforced withdrawals in Helsinki, Page chose to start without the likes of Bale and Davies to keep them fresh for Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

That game has been moved to Kazan in Russia, prompting Page to bemoan a "logistical nightmare" which has ruled out another three of his players because of visa issues, taking the number of those unavailable to 13.

Such a strain on already limited resources is a concern for Wales before a match against Belarus they realistically must win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying automatically for a first World Cup since 1958.

The same is true of next Wednesday's match against Estonia in Cardiff, as Wales aim to put pressure on group favourites and early leaders Belgium.

Wales could have done without their deluge of withdrawals but, given how their fringe players performed against Finland, Page's men will take some encouragement into their qualifying double-header.

Wales manager Robert Page: "I think there's a lot of positives to come out of it. I thought there were some big performances.

"Look at Jonny Williams, who has played on the left wing for us. I asked him to play at right wing-back again and he gave a great account of himself.

"I thought the two boys in midfield, Matty [Smith] and Dylan [Levitt] were excellent. Josh [Sheehan] coming on I thought was very good, Rubin [Colwill] and Tyler [Roberts] caused a constant threat and Brennan [Johnson] also. The one time he got one-on-one with the full-back he gets a penalty for us.

"So a lot of positives, a clean sheet, and more importantly, no injuries."

Line-ups

Finland

Formation 4-4-2

  • 23Eriksson
  • 22RaitalaSubstituted forAlhoat 73'minutes
  • 4Toivio
  • 15Ivanov
  • 2Hämäläinen
  • 18HostikkaSubstituted forSoiriat 64'minutes
  • 14Kairinen
  • 6KamaraBooked at 55mins
  • 21AssehnounSubstituted forNissiläat 45'minutes
  • 19ForssSubstituted forPohjanpaloat 73'minutes
  • 9JensenSubstituted forTaylorat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Hrádecky
  • 3O'Shaughnessy
  • 5Väisänen
  • 7Taylor
  • 8Valakari
  • 10Pukki
  • 11Schüller
  • 13Soiri
  • 16Nissilä
  • 17Alho
  • 20Pohjanpalo

Wales

Formation 3-5-2

  • 12WardSubstituted forHennesseyat 45'minutes
  • 15AmpaduSubstituted forWoodburnat 73'minutes
  • 5Lockyer
  • 14LawrenceSubstituted forDaviesat 45'minutes
  • 10WilliamsSubstituted forSheehanat 63'minutesBooked at 65mins
  • 23Levitt
  • 19Smith
  • 8Wilson
  • 17Norrington-Davies
  • 20JohnsonSubstituted forColwillat 63'minutes
  • 9RobertsSubstituted forBaleat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Hennessey
  • 2Gunter
  • 3Cooper
  • 4Davies
  • 6Mepham
  • 7Sheehan
  • 11Bale
  • 13Colwill
  • 16Morrell
  • 18M Harris
  • 21King
  • 22Woodburn
Referee:
Kristo Tohver

Match Stats

Home TeamFinlandAway TeamWales
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home5
Away14
Shots on Target
Home0
Away5
Corners
Home3
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Finland 0, Wales 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Finland 0, Wales 0.

  3. Post update

    Glen Kamara (Finland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Gareth Bale (Wales).

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ben Woodburn (Wales) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gareth Bale.

  6. Post update

    Urho Nissilä (Finland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Dylan Levitt (Wales).

  8. Post update

    Offside, Finland. Joel Pohjanpalo tries a through ball, but Pyry Soiri is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Wales. Gareth Bale tries a through ball, but Harry Wilson is caught offside.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Harry Wilson.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Rhys Norrington-Davies.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Wales. Gareth Bale replaces Tyler Roberts.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rubin Colwill (Wales) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Harry Wilson.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Wilson (Wales) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tyler Roberts.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Joona Toivio.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Rubin Colwill (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Sheehan.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Ben Woodburn (Wales).

  18. Post update

    Glen Kamara (Finland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Robert Taylor (Finland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Matthew Smith (Wales).

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