World Cup Qualification Europe - Finalnd vs Kosovo

World Cup Qualification

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Published: 03/09/2016

World Cup Qualification Europe - Finalnd vs Kosovo

September 05, 2016 19:45pm - Veritas Stadion

World Cup Qualification - Group I

Next Monday night, the Veritas Stadion in Turku will be the venue for one of the most significant moments in recent European football history as the Kosovo national team take on Finland in their first ever competitive match.

Historic moment for Balkan state

Kosovo will begin life as a FIFA accredited federation by attempting to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals. After years of preparation and stiff opposition from neighbouring Serbia, the troubled region has finally established a federation that has been recognised by the world`s footballing body. As a result, Kosovo can now field a team at international tournament level under the guidance of coach Albert Bunjaki.

The integration of Kosova into the international roster has created some issues for FIFA as many players of Kosovan heritage who have already represented other nations, following their displacement, have expressed a desire to turn out for their home nation.

With just a few days to go before kick-off in Finland, this issue of national realignment has yet to be fully resolved. As a result, many players that wanted to play have not been allowed including Arsenal`s Granit Xhaka, who represented Switzerland at Euro 2016. In fact, all of the players who played a part in the Euros have been denied the chance to switch due to the fact that Kosova were officially integrated into both Uefa and Fifa in May, several days before the start of the summer event in France.

A decision on whether players who did not feature in France but who have represented other nations can be selected is set to be made this weekend. The outcome of this match may depend greatly on which players are given clearance.

Recent form (All competitions)

Finland: LLDLL

Kosovo: WDWLW

Betting odds and tips

Finland have won just one of their last 11 matches on home soil - a 1-0 victory over the Faroe Islands. Interestingly, Kosova`s first official match as an accredited federation back in June was a 2-0 victory over the same team. Prior to that, the Kosovan`s drew 2-2 in a friendly match against Euro 2016 contestants Albania back in November.

The home side have looked poor in recent outings and may find it hard to prepare for a match against a team that remains an unknown quantity at competitive level. The late decision on which players can take part could also affect the outcome of this game but the visitors looked well-priced at 15/4 to upset their hosts.

You can back Kosova to win at 15/4 with Bet365.

By Neil Morris

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