This game promised to be tough after four days of disruption within the England camp. First the coach resigned and was replaced by acting coach Howard Wilkinson, then the backroom staff also left the England set-up and were temporarily replaced by Brian Kidd and Stuart Pearce. Further trouble followed when Beckham, Gerrard, Adams and Le Saux all withdrew from the squad due to injuries. Wilkinson called up Manchester United players Wes Brown and Teddy Sheringham to the squad. Keown was appointed captain for this game.
The first encounter with excitement came with six minutes on the clock. Teddy Sheringham was in a one-on-one situation with Finland's Niemi, but the goalkeeper pulled the striker down as England looked to take an early lead. The challenge looked to be a clear sending off offense but the referee just showed Niemi the yellow card and awarded the visitors a freekick, which was cleared by Finland's defence.
England seemed to dominate the first half with Andy Cole looking as though he might open the scoring but Helin prevented the visitors taking the lead. It was almost half-time before Finland got into the game.
Three minutes into the second half Gareth Southgate drove the ball towards Niemi's net but his shot went wide. Then England had a scare when Saarinen crossed the ball to Johansson in the six-yard box but the Finn could not reach the ball, which was collected by David Seaman.
Seaman's first save came on 72 minutes but the England goalkeeper stopped Johansson's shot. A moment later Seaman was forced to save with his legs as Litmanen's back-heel put Forssell one-on-one with the Arsenal player. Fortunately Forssell's touch was too much and England escaped.
As England's chance for victory faded away, memories of 1966 came into mind as Parlour went passed two Finnish players and blasted the ball against the bar which appeared to have crossed the line but the French referee waved for play to continue and England's last chance to take the three points disappeared.
As full-time approached Dennis Wise tried to claim a penalty but it was a desperate attempt. England's competitive match is in March against Finland by which time they will hopefully have a new coach who can steer them in the right direction.
Niemi, Helin (Reini 36 mins), Saarinen (Salli 67 mins), Hyypia, Tihinen, Nurmela, Wiss, Valakari,
Forssel (Kuqi 77 mins), Litmanen, Johansson.
Subs Not Used: Jasskelaninen, Kottila, Riihilahti, Kolkka.
Seaman, Southgate, Keown, Barry (Brown 69 mins), P Neville, Wise, Parlour, Scholes, Sheringham (McManaman 69 mins), Heskey, A Cole.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Barmby, Ferdinand, J Cole, Owen. (Full Squad)
Finland Caution: Niemi
Referee: A Sars (France)