Dion Charles and Eoin Toal both started as a young Northern Ireland side was beaten 4-0 by Finland in Helsinki.

Toal played the full 90 minutes alongside Sunderland’s Dan Ballard and Middlesbrough’s Paddy McNair in the back three.

It was the defender’s second senior appearance on the international stage, having made his debut against Slovenia last month.

Meanwhile, Charles got an hour under his belt before making way for ex-Bolton forward Josh Magennis.

Joel Pohjanpalo, Daniel Hakans, Teemu Pukki and Robin Lod were all on target for the hosts as Northern Ireland’s disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign continued.

At the other end, Charles swivelled and caught a volley sweetly but it was saved by Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.

“We played very well for 40 minutes in the game I thought,” said manager Michael O’Neill. “We had a plan to make ourselves difficult to beat and to contain Finland and we did it very well, I can’t remember them having any opportunities in that period.

“We created one or two half chances we could have done better with. Then the penalty, for all the work you do in the first 40 minutes you end up going in 1-0 down at half-time because of a penalty.”

He added: “That has been the big difference, the attacking players some of the opposition have had and we saw that tonight with goals three and four.

“We’ve got a group of players where a lot of them are new to international football. This is their first campaign.

“They’re coming into games and the games are going away from them. As a manager I have to support them and back them. They have to learn on the job and they’re having to learn quickly.”

O’Neill’s side wrap up the group stage on Monday night when they welcome Denmark to Windsor Park (7.45pm).