Gareth Southgate is in a little injury nightmare at the moment. Harry Kane has had to withdraw this week after picking up a knock for Tottenham during their midweek win in the Europa League against FC Sheriff. He joins both Nathan Redmond and and team-mate Tom Carroll as players who will miss the fixture with Finland through injury.
To go with the injury situation, Southgate will also be without influential defender Andre Wisdom who is sitting out the match with a suspension.
England are sitting pretty at the top of group 1 with two games in hand of Wales in 2nd. Back on the 9th of September England travelled to Tampere a southern city in Finland for what proved to be their toughest test of the group so far. Despite doing all the early running and creating the better opportunities, it was Finland who took the lead when Yaghoubi curled in a free kick which fooled English keeper Jack Butland who was expecting a cross. James Ward-Prowse was impressing for the young lions but it was starlet Saido Berahino who rescued a point scoring his second goal in as many qualifiers as England got back on level terms. England had the upper-hand until Andre Wisdom saw red for a stamp which meant England settled back for a draw. It was a solid display against a very decent Finnish outfit.
The Group As It Stands
|Teams||Played||Won||Lost||Drawn||Goals For||Goals Against||Difference||Points|
Key Men: England
So far Saido has scored 4 goals in 4 qualifying games and his club form would suggest that he is not ready to stop. He has a little bit of everything, but like any good striker he knows where the goal is. His finish against Manchester United showed the class he has and he has added to that with a strike against Crystal Palace. He really is in fine form at the moment and I'm confident that if given the right service he will put the ball in the back of the net.
Ward-Prowse is knocking on the door for an England call up, arguably the best player on the pitch in the last meeting with Finland, he followed up that performance with a goal against struggling Lithuania. He likes to get forward and with this England set-up he will have a much better opportunity to do so. He's the engine in the middle and he'll be the man trying to supply Berahino.
Key Men: Finland
Of Afghan decent, Yaghoubi has only just gained citizenship to play for Finland, and he has started on fire with 2 goals in 4 games for the Under 21's. A small creative midfielder who can be deadly from set pieces, he plies his trade in Finland with FC Honka who are in the Finnish equivalent of the Premier League (Veikkausliiga).
Tim also plays for FC Honka who are represented well in the Finish U21 side, and he has some great chemistry with Yaghoubi. He has made 10 appearances for the U21 side, scoring 5 times including strikes against Lithuania and a hatrick against Wales in this qualifying campaign. At 6'3 he is a dangerous opponent from set pieces which is why I have highlighted him alongside the main set-piece taker for the Finnish U21 side.
When: Thursday 14th November
Where: MK Stadium, Milton Keynes
TV: BT Sport 1