Sweden can still win Group E if the Netherlands lose at home to Moldova and it wins in Helsinki and then again on Tuesday at home in Solna against the Dutch. The Netherlands has already secured a spot at next year’s championship because even if it finishes second, it is guaranteed to be the best runner-up.
If Sweden takes fewer than three points in the two games against Finland and Netherlands, Hungary could still sneak in to take second place in the group. Moldova is in fourth and has no chance of qualifying.
Finland, which lost 5-0 at Sweden, can’t qualify for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine. Their desperation to even score after that loss does not concern Sweden coach Erik Hamren.
“It’s like when you’re fighting with your brother or your sister, you love them but you want to win,” Hamren said of the upcoming match against its eastern neighbor.
Finland coach Mixu Paatelainen is not worried about Friday’s match nor Tuesday’s follow-up against Hungary despite the possibility of playing a decisive role in the outcome of the teams at the top of the table.
“That cannot happen again,” Finland coach Mixu Paatelainen said of taking on Sweden after losing 5-0 the first time around. “We played positively against Moldova and the Netherlands and we aim to carry on from that.”
The Finns will be without injured pair Petri Pasanen and Alexei Eremenko Jr., while midfielder Markus Heikkinen has retired from international football and midfielder Perparim Hetemaj is suspended.
The Netherlands can secure top spot with a draw at Moldova. But the Dutch would prefer to continue their perfect record with a ninth straight win.
The Dutch are without regular forwards Wesley Sneijder (groin) and Arjen Robben (pelvis) while Ibrahim Afellay (knee), John Heitinga (knee) and Hedwiges Maduro (ankle) are also missing to injury.
Midfielders Nigel de Jong and Rafael van der Vaart, who missed the San Marino and Finland matches in September, both return from injuries.
Moldova is in fourth place in the group and has no chance of qualifying.