Wales was left with regrets over Harry Wilson’s penalty in the 0-0 friendly draw in Helsinki.
Wilson had the opportunity to win Wales an emotional victory in 25 minutes. This was ahead of their World Cup Qualifiers against Belarus, Estonia and Estonia.
Brennan Johnson had created the opportunity, but Wilson’s shot was too close for Finland’s goalkeeper Carljohan Eriksson. Eriksson correctly guessed Wilson’s position on his debut.
Rubin Colwill was also a poor substitute and Wales could not be rewarded by the late arrival Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.
A slew of withdrawals had hit Wales ahead of the second time they visited Helsinki within 12 months. Aaron Ramsey, Joe Rodon and Neco Williams were just a few of the players who had been ruled out due to injury. Adam Davies, goalkeeper, was also positive for coronavirus.
Kieffer Moore was the winner of Wales’ Nations League match in Helsinki last September. He was considered a good contact for Davies, and was therefore unavailable. Robert Page, interim manager of the World Cup qualifiers, named Bale among the replacements.
Danny Ward, Leicester’s goalkeeper, was the only survivor in Wales’ defeat to Denmark at Euro 2020. He led an XI with just 160 caps. Johnson, a 20-year old Nottingham Forest attacking midfielder, made his debut after making two substitution appearances.
Also, Finland had an experimental team. Wales was the fastest to settle with Wilson. Wilson made a prominent appearance in his final game for the national side just two months back.
Ethan Ampadu swung over a Dylan Levitt kick and Wilson had an attempt blocked within the first 10 minutes. Wilson quickly scored, but Johnson was flagged offside by the assistant referee.
Although both goalkeepers were well protected, Johnson challenged Niko Hamalainen to a quick challenge. Wilson moved forward, but Wilson failed to convert 12 yards, as Bale did against Turkey.
Page sat down at his bench during the half-time break as Page noticed that pace was dropping. Ward was replaced by Wayne Hennessey, goalkeeper; substitute Ben Davies received the armband.
Wilson had another goal blocked, but Finland started to be more ambitious. Tom Lockyer was called on to help deflect Hennessey’s efforts.
The Wales free kick was won by Tyler Roberts, who’s effort signalled danger. Wilson is known for scoring from the outside of the penalty box. Wilson defeated the wall, but Eriksson dived to save him. Wilson pushed the ball safely to the safety line. Eriksson was thankful moments later when Matt Smith’s low drive skid right wide of his farpost.
As the fluency Finland showed at the beginning of the second period, Wales seemed to be able to take advantage of these changes.
Bale’s arrival in Wales galvanized them, although they made two speculation attempts during his brief time on pitch. However, there was no breakthrough.
- For the first time in four years, Wales has failed to score in any of its three games consecutively in any competition since September 2012.
- This match saw Finland fail to score a goal. The last time Finland did not have one was September 2020 against Wales.
- Harry Wilson missed a penalty, the third consecutive spot-kick that a Wales player missed after Gareth Bale against Turkey at Euro 2020 and Sam Vokes versus Panama in November 2017.
- Harry Wilson participated in the half-way match between Wales and England. He had five shots to his name, while creating two more for his team.
Wales will face Belarus in World Cup Qualifying action in Kazan on Sunday. You can watch the match live on Sky Sports Football starting at 1.30pm, kickoff is at 2pm.
Publiated at 18:54.46 +0000, Wed, 01 Sep 2021