Finland boss unsure how Pukki and players will react to Eriksen trauma
- Credit: PA
Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki will once again lead the line for Finland as they continue their Euro 2020 journey against Russia on Wednesday afternoon.
But manager Markku Kanerva is uncertain how Pukki and his players will react after the trauma of seeing Christian Eriksen collapse in their tournament opener against Denmark.
Finland have relocated to St Petersburg for the latest chapter in their Euro 2020 campaign, knowing that victory coupled with the Danes failing to beat Belgium would seal their place in the last 16.
Their 1-0 win over Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday was overshadowed by Eriksen’s cardiac arrest and Kanerva admitted Wednesday's match will be a voyage into the unknown.
"It is hard to estimate how the event of Eriksen will affect different people and of course we all have it in our minds," former Finland defender Kanerva told a press conference.
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"We are very glad that Eriksen is doing better and I hope regarding the difficult situation we will be able to concentrate on tomorrow's match.
"Certainly it will remain in our minds, even after the tournament. Maybe we will be able to appreciate the (Denmark) win even more.
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"But it is not an easy task for all of us to concentrate only on football because there were bigger things than football in play."
Finland sealed their place at a major tournament for the first time in November 2019 when finishing behind Italy in their qualifying group.
Kanerva, a former schoolteacher, said Sunday's win was the pinnacle of his managerial career so far.
"It was one game and an important one, but we don't want to dwell on that," he added. "We want to be fully focused for the match against Russia. We're still on the road."
Russia, bidding to bounce back from their 3-0 opening group defeat to Belgium, have been dealt a blow with news Yuri Zhirkov could be ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
The Zenit St Petersburg midfielder was forced off against Belgium due to a calf injury and head coach Stanislav Cherchesov revealed Daler Kuzyaev, Fyodor Kudryashov, Georgi Dzhikiya and Aleksandr Golovin were all doubtful.