A quiet night for Pukki as Finland fail to finish in the top two of Euro2020 group
- Credit: PA
Teemu Pukki still looked to be working his way back to full fitness as Finland suffered defeat in their final Euro 2020 group stage game against Belgium.
An own goal from Lukas Hradecky and a strike from Romelu Lukaku eventually saw Roberto Martinez' side brush Finland aside despite Markku Kanerva's side displaying plenty of defensive graft.
A point would have been enough to secure progression to the knockout stages, but now Pukki and his teammates suffer an anxious wait to see if they have finished as one of the strongest third-placed sides for a spot in the next stage of the contest.
That does appear unlikely, but irrespective of the outcome, Finland will leave the competition with an enormous sense of pride.
Below is a player watch on Norwich City star Pukki, who didn't look back to his best in St Petersburg:
1 - Pukki's first touch sees him cushion the ball into Robin Lod's path and spin to make a run in behind. Finland's midfielder is then tackled by Jason Denayer.
6 - City's striker makes a positive dart in-behind Belgium's backline, but Joel Pohjanpalo fails to find him with a ball over the top
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10 - A long ball from Lukas Hradecky finds Pukki who drops to play the ball to Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara. The move breaks down when Jere Uronen fails to receive a pass
12 - A fine Finland move sees Uronen cut the ball back from the left and find Pukki in a pocket of space in the box. His first touch is good but he's quickly closed down by Kevin de Bruyne
29 - Tim Sparv's industry progresses Finland up the pitch. His pass finds Pukki, who returns the ball to his captain
41 - After a significant portion of the first half not seeing the ball, Pukki controls a fizzed pass and manages to hold Denayer off before finding strike partner Pohjanpalo. The Leverkusen attacker finds Kamara who misplaces his forward pass
HT: Belgium 0-0 Finland - A tough half for Pukki who saw little of the ball as Belgium dominated possession. City's man was tasked with playing between Boyata and Denayer whilst moving him to get in behind Thomas Vermaelen may have seen him get more joy
46 - Bright start from City's man. He latches onto a ball in-behind and keeps the attack alive for Finland. Uronen's cross finds Pukki in the box but his shot is blocked
52 - Pukki wrestles with Leandro Trossard and keeps hold of possession by finding Kamara with the pass. The ball returns to City's man but he is tackled as he looks to bring the ball infield
59 - Pukki angles a lofted pass out to the right and picks out Robin Lod superbly. He slaloms passed two men before appearing to be fouled, only for the Finnish protests to be waved away by the referee
62 - A clever run from Pukki is picked out by Kamara. He gets in behind and turns to find Jukka Raitala. His return pass to Kamara leads to an effort being blocked inside the area
64 - A loose pass gifts possession back to de Bruyne but Pukki tracks back with real urgency to steal the ball back
74 - Goal Belgium. Lukas Hradecky own goal. 1-0.
78 - Pukki is presented with a sighter of goal but decides to chop the ball back onto his left foot before striking. That allows Boyata a chance to recover and block
79 - A surging run from Pukki progresses Finland up the pitch and Lod is teed up for a shot. His curling effort goes over the bar
81 - Goal Belgium. Romelu Lukaku. 2-0
90+1 - Pukki replaced by Brentford forward Marcus Forss
Verdict: Pukki still looks to be working his way back to full fitness and his performance reflected that but was left to feed on scraps as Finland adopted a conservative approach with a point needed to secure progression to the knockout stages.
Ultimately, it wasn't to be for Pukki or his side. But the real achievement was reaching the finals and fulfilling a childhood dream of leading his country into their first-ever major competition. He will be remembered as a Finnish hero and is poised to become his country's all-time leading goalscorer.
From a Norwich perspective, Pukki now has time to rest ahead of another campaign in the Premier League.