Pukki set for crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers with Finland as City's international call-ups begin

PUBLISHED: 14:04 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 01 October 2019

Teemu Pukki in action for Norwich City during Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Teemu Pukki in action for Norwich City during Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

International call-ups have kicked off ahead of the approaching break in Premier League action, with Norwich City star Teemu Pukki named in the Finland squad ahead of two crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers.

City's top scorer is an almost certain starter for the Finns due to his fine goal-scoring form for club and country in recent years, starting the last 13 competitive games for his country and scoring 10 goals in those games.

The 29-year-old, who has 75 caps, has scored five goals during Euro 2020 qualifying so far and the Finns are second behind leaders Italy in Group J - with a fine chance of qualification for their first ever major tournament.

A trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina on Saturday, October 12 awaits, followed by a home game against Armenia in Turku on Tuesday, October 15.

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Bosnia are fourth and five points adrift of Pukki's side with four games left to play, having lost 2-0 in Finland earlier in qualification, and Armenia are third and three points adrift having lost 2-0 at home to the Finns in March.

All of which means two wins during the break would all but guarantee automatic qualification for Markku Kanerva's squad, who already have a place in the play-offs sealed thanks to winning their Uefa Nations League group last year.

Former Brondby, Celtic and Schalke striker Pukki has scored 44 goals in 65 games for club and country since joining Norwich on a free transfer in the summer of 2018, winning the Premier League Player of the Month award for August.

Only two players have scored more goals for Finland, former Ajax and Barcelona star Jari Litmanen with 25 in 104 games between 1990 and 2010 and former Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell with 28 in 78 matches between 1999 and 2014.

The squad has been announced ahead of City's top-flight clash with Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Saturday, with several other players potentially in action during the break.

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Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell were all in England U21 action during the last night international fortnight, with Aarons subsequently missing two games because of an ankle injury, but returning during the 2-0 loss at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Jamal Lewis and Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland) and Kenny McLean and Grant Hanley (Scotland) are all expected to be in contention for call-ups as well.

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