Rangers star Glen Kamara’s World Cup hopes were cruelly ended on Tuesday after a 2-0 defeat to France and a victory for Finland’s rivals Ukraine.
Finland attended a major tournament for the first time in the summer and although they were eliminated at the group stages of Euro 2020, they didn’t look out of place.
Reaching their first-ever World Cup was their next goal and ahead of their final two Group D Qualifying fixtures, Markku Kanerva’s side had given themselves a real chance.
Victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday raised hopes further and ahead of their final match at home to reigning world champions France – who had already qualified for Qatar 2022 – their fate was in their own hands.
A win in Helsinki would have seen the Finns reach the playoffs and they competed with France for over an hour, with Kamara battling against the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Aurélien Tchouaméni in midfield.
The visitors’ quality would eventually tell, though, with substitute Karim Benzema scoring the opener in the 66th minute and Kylian Mbappe doubling the advantage ten minutes later.
Finland would still have sealed a playoff spot despite the defeat if Ukraine had lost or drawn in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the Eastern European nation triumphed 2-0 courtesy of goals from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Artem Dobvyk.
As a result, Ukraine finished one point above Finland on 12 and now progress to the playoffs.
It was a cruel ending to qualifying for Kamara and co., but the Rangers midfielder must pick himself back up again quickly.
The Gers have a big Premier Sports Cup semi-final against Hibernian at Hampden on Sunday and regardless of who takes charge of the team, Kamara is highly likely to start.