Robinson double boosts Canucks
Recalled Jodi-Ann Robinson was the Canucks' goal hero, and though the 17-year-old's clinically-executed brace did scant justice to his side's superiority in this one-sided encounter, Ian Bridge was simply delighted that his players succeeded in erasing the bitter memories of their opening game defeat to Nigeria .
He said: "I'm very pleased because we know the Finland team well and we always knew that they would fight hard and be well organised and difficult to break down. I actually felt we started quite nervously, but the pace we played the game at was good and now we'll go into our third game aiming to do what's needed to qualify."
Bridge had opted to make one, ultimately significant change going into this match, dropping Lisa Collison in favour of Robinson, but the big pre-match selection news came from the Finns, for whom star striker Linda Sallstrom was a high-profile absentee.
The 18-year-old, a clear stand-out against China, didn't even make the bench having been laid low with a virus, and the loss of her pace, goalscoring instincts and tireless running represented a crushing blow to Finnish hopes.
Without their talisman, Matikainen's side seemed able only to offer token resistance against a resurgent Canadian outfit who, from the off, played with a clear purpose, and at a ferocious, unrelenting tempo.
The pattern was set from the opening minute, which saw shots from Aysha Jemani and Robinson flash just wide, with Finland also struggling to deal with a series of early corners from Loredana Riverso, one of which led to Robinson heading powerfully against the crossbar.
Canucks make the breakthrough
Quick, strong and direct, the Canadian no. 7 certainly fully justified her inclusion, and with 24 minutes played the Vancouver Whitecaps striker jinked and twisted her way through the packed Finnish defence and again cracked the woodwork with a low left-foot shot against the face of the post.
Only Lady Luck and some last-gasp defending was now keeping Tinja-Rikka Korpela's goal intact, and Bridge's side must have wondered if this simply wasn't to be their day when Kaylyn Kyle saw a goal-bound header deflected on to the junction of post and bar.
Finland's good fortune couldn't hold out indefinitely, however, and when Niina Hyvonen's mis-timed tackle sent Jermani crashing to the ground inside the box, Robinson stepped up decisively to dispatch a textbook penalty high to the keeper's left (0-1, 39').
With 14 efforts at goal to Finland's none at half-time, Robinson's opener was certainly no more than Canada deserved, with Matikainen's displeasure at the unfolding events having already been amply demonstrated when he made a double substitution with 12 first half minutes remaining.
However, spurred on perhaps by some harsh half-time words from their coach, Finland rallied after the break and could have hauled themselves level on the hour-mark when Essi Sainio burst inside from the right and fired wide of the top left-hand corner when it seemed easier to score.
"I can have no complaints," Matikainen admitted afterwards. "In the first half we had enormous problems and, mentally, my players looked almost scared to touch the ball. At least in the second half we made a game of it."
A Finnish goal would nevertheless have represented rough justice on the dominant Canadians, and the outcome was effectively put beyond doubt with 20 minutes remaining when Robinson latched on to a hopeful punt forward from her keeper and lobbed the ball over the advancing Korpela to seal a thoroughly deserved win (0-2, 70').
"It was a great team performance and very important because we really needed this win after what happened against Nigeria," the Player of the Match said afterwards. "We played very well together today and now our confidence is back up again."
Player of the Match: JODI-ANN ROBINSON
"Robinson got our vote because she was a risk-taker and fearless in her play throughout the match. She was always very dangerous and could have scored more than just two goals," Connie Selby (AUS), FIFA Technical Study Group.