Finland national football team: Wikis

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Finland
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Huuhkajat ("Eurasian Eagle-owls")
Association Football Association of Finland (Suomen Palloliitto, Finlands Bollförbund)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach England Stuart Baxter
Captain Sami Hyypiä
Most caps Jari Litmanen (131)
Top scorer Jari Litmanen (31)
Home stadium Helsinki Olympic Stadium
FIFA code FIN
FIFA ranking 52
Highest FIFA ranking 33 (March 2007)
Lowest FIFA ranking 79 (December 1996)
Elo ranking 45
Highest Elo ranking 30 (March 2002)
Lowest Elo ranking 125 (1962-3)
Home colours
Away colours
First international
Finland Finland 2 - 5 Sweden Sweden
(Helsinki, Finland; October 22, 1911)
Biggest win
Finland Finland 10 - 2 Estonia Estonia
(Helsinki, Finland; August 11, 1922)
Biggest defeat
Germany Germany 13 - 0 Finland Finland
(Leipzig, Germany; September 1, 1940)

The Finland national football team represents Finland in international football competitions and is controlled by the Football Association of Finland.

The Finnish national team has never qualified for a finals tournament of the World Cup or the European Championships, but has made four Olympic tournament appearances. It was considered one of the weakest teams in Europe in past decades; especially at a time when many of today's smallest nations didn't yet compete in international football. Finland is one of the few European countries where football is not the most popular spectator sport, and the game has traditionally been played on an amateur basis in the country. Only in the last decade – after the Bosman ruling and the removal of foreign quotas in the EU region – have Finnish players had significant opportunities to play in the continent's top leagues. Today, nearly all regular members of the national team play outside of Finland.

Contents

History

The Football Association of Finland was founded as early as 1907 and became a member of FIFA in 1908, despite the fact that at that time Finland was still an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire and didn't gain independence until 1917. Finland played its first international match on October 22, 1911, losing to neighboring Sweden 2–5 in Helsinki.

A fourth place finish at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm still arguably ranks as the country's best ever achievement in international football. Finland beat Italy and Russia in the first two rounds before losing to Great Britain in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal match they were beaten 0–9 by the Netherlands. According to the story, the Finns were under the impression that the match would be a day later, so they had gone out celebrating the night before the match, and as a consequence were easily beaten. Finland's star player Eino Soinio, aged only 17 at the time, was chosen to the all-star team of the tournament by Swedish paper Idrottsbladet.

Finland also took part in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, but was beaten by Peru in the first round. The country sought qualification for the World Cup for the first time in the 1938 event, but failed to score a single point. The fortunes of the team didn't improve much in the 1950s or 1960s: they were never near qualification, and didn't achieve their first win until 1965. Finland also took part in European Championship qualifying since the 1968 event, but had to wait for its first win until 1978. The 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki saw the hosts crash to Austria in the first round. Finland did, however, win the unofficial Nordic championship in 1952, 1964 and 1966.

The results of the team improved somewhat in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Finland missed out on qualification for Euro 1980 by just a point and for the 1986 World Cup by two points. Finland was invited to take part in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow after many Western countries announced they would boycott the games, but failed to progress from its group.

By the mid-1990s Finland started to have more players in high profile European leagues, led by the Ajax superstar Jari Litmanen. In 1996 Danish Euro 1992 winning coach Richard Møller Nielsen was hired to take Finland to the 1998 World Cup. The team enjoyed mixed fortunes in the campaign, high points of which were a draw and a win away to Norway and Switzerland respectively. Going into the last match, Finland would have needed a win at home to Hungary to earn a place in the play-offs. They led the game 1-0 going into injury time, but scored an own goal, and once again the dreams of qualification were over. Møller Nielsen also tried to lead Finland to Euro 2000. In this campaign the Finns recorded a sensational win away to Turkey, but couldn't compete with Germany and Turkey in the long run.

Antti Muurinen succeeded Møller Nielsen as coach in 2000. He had arguably the most talented group of Finnish players ever at his disposal, including players such as Antti Niemi, Sami Hyypiä, Teemu Tainio and Mikael Forssell in addition to the legendary Litmanen. The team also performed quite well under him in qualification for the 2002 World Cup despite a difficult draw, earning two draws against Germany and a home draw with England as well as beating Greece 5–1 in Helsinki. In the end, however, England and Germany proved too strong, and the Finns finished third in the group, but were the only team in that group not to lose at home. Hopes were high going into qualification for Euro 2004 after the promising last campaign and friendly wins over the likes of Norway, Belgium and Portugal. However, Finland started the campaign by losing to Wales and Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro, now two separate nations). These losses were followed by two defeats by Italy, and a 3-0 home win over Serbia and Montenegro was little consolation, as the Finns finished fourth in the group. In qualification for the 2006 World Cup Finland failed to score a single point in six matches against the top three teams in their group, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Romania. Muurinen was sacked in June 2005, and he was replaced by caretaker Jyrki Heliskoski, but results didn't improve.

In August 2005 it was announced that Roy Hodgson would become the new Finland coach in 2006, and he started in the job in January of that year. Hodgson stepped down as manager after they failed to qualify for Euro 2008.[1] His replacement was another Englishman, Stuart Baxter, who signed a contract until the end of the 2012 European Championship qualification campaign.[2]

Finland was competing in Group A in qualification for UEFA Euro 2008, together with Portugal, Poland, Serbia, Belgium, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The team started the campaign very well, beating Poland 3-1 away and earning a 1-1 draw with Portugal at home. The Finns then gained four points from their difficult away ties against Armenia and Kazakhstan, drawing 0-0 with the former and beating the latter 2-0. On 15 November 2006, Finland beat Armenia 1-0 at home, thus remaining undefeated in the qualifying. In Finland's first match of 2007, they were in poor form when they lost against Azerbaijan 1-0, one of the worst matches in Finnish footballing history. On early June they lost to Serbia 2-0 at home, which many fans felt to be the end of a real battle for qualification. But the next match was against Belgium and team Finland gained the trust of their fans back by winning 2-0 at home. This was followed by a series of wins including a 2-1 win against Azerbaijan, with the team needing to win against Portugal away from home needing to qualify. However, the match ended 0-0 meaning the team missed out on qualification. At the end of the group table the defeat to Azerbaijan made little difference, as it would have meant Finland losing out on away goals between them and Portugal when the teams met if they did win against Azerbaijan twice. However, the performance in qualifying seen the Finns gain their best-ever FIFA world ranking to date at the position of 33rd.

2010 World cup qualification has fared little better, with the team under new head coach Stuart Baxter not winning matches as consistently like they did under Roy Hodgson. However the team were within touching distance of a win over Euro 2008 finalists Germany, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw. The team again finished third in their group with five wins, three draws and two defeats. They were the only team in qualifying not to lose to Germany, but came close to a win in the second meeting only to concede an equaliser in stoppage time. Despite never qualifying for a major tournament so far in their history, the team have been regulars in the top 50 of the monthly FIFA world rankings.

Stadiums

Most of Finland's important home matches are played at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in the capital Helsinki. It has been Finland's principal home stadium ever since its construction was completed in 1938. Before that Pallokenttä in Helsinki was mainly used.

Today, some qualifying matches against lower profile opponents and some friendlies are hosted at the Ratina Stadion in Tampere. Helsinki's Finnair Stadium, which has artificial turf, is also used for some friendlies and qualifiers.

Nickname

Bubi spectating a football game

The team's nickname commonly used in Finland is "Huuhkajat" (Eurasian eagle-owls). This originates from an eagle-owl named Bubi living at the tower of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. He made his first appearance in a football game in 2007 in a game between Finland and Belgium, helping Finland win 2-0. Bubi was named Helsinki's "Resident of the Year" in 2007 and to the surprise of spectators, visited his own award ceremony on the stadium. [3] The name of the Eurasian eagle-owl has its roots in the scientific name of the species (Bubo bubo) and legendary Finnish sports commentator Bror-Erik "Bubi" Wallenius.

World Cup record

European Championship record

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification

Team
Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Germany 10 8 2 0 26 5 +21 26
 Russia 10 7 1 2 19 6 +13 22
 Finland 10 5 3 2 14 14 0 18
 Wales 10 4 0 6 9 12 −3 12
 Azerbaijan 10 1 2 7 4 14 −10 5
 Liechtenstein 10 0 2 8 2 23 −21 2
  Azerbaijan Finland Germany Liechtenstein Russia Wales
Azerbaijan  1 – 2 0 – 2 0 – 0 1 – 1 0 – 1
Finland  1 – 0 3 – 3 2 – 1 0 – 3 2 – 1
Germany  4 – 0 1 – 1 4 – 0 2 – 1 1 – 0
Liechtenstein  0 – 2 1 – 1 0 – 6 0 – 1 0 – 2
Russia  2 – 0 3 – 0 0 – 1 3 – 0 2 – 1
Wales  1 – 0 0 – 2 0 – 2 2 – 0 1 – 3

Current squad

Selections for the match against Malta on 3 March 2010.[4] Caps and goals as of 3th March 2010.

No. Pos. Player DoB (Age) Caps Goals Club
1 GK Otto Fredrikson November 30, 1981 (1981-11-30) (age 28) 5 0 Russia Spartak Nalchik
GK Peter Enckelman March 10, 1977 (1977-03-10) (age 33) 12 0 Wales Cardiff City
GK Niki Mäenpää January 23, 1985 (1985-01-23) (age 25) 4 0 Netherlands Willem II
13 DF Veli Lampi June 18, 1984 (1984-06-18) (age 25) 17 0 Switzerland Zürich
5 DF Markus Halsti March 19, 1984 (1984-03-19) (age 25) 3 0 Sweden Malmö FF
Toni Kallio August 9, 1978 (1978-08-09) (age 31) 49 2 England Sheffield United
3 DF Niklas Moisander September 29, 1985 (1985-09-29) (age 24) 9 1 Netherlands AZ
3 DF Jukka Raitala September 15, 1988 (1988-09-15) (age 21) 2 0 Germany Hoffenheim
DF Jani Lyyski March 16, 1983 (1983-03-16) (age 27) 2 0 Sweden Djurgården
14 MF Tim Sparv February 20, 1987 (1987-02-20) (age 23) 6 0 Netherlands Groningen
MF Teemu Tainio November 27, 1979 (1979-11-27) (age 30) 51 6 England Birmingham City
7 MF Roman Eremenko March 19, 1987 (1987-03-19) (age 22) 25 1 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv
6 MF Mika Väyrynen December 28, 1981 (1981-12-28) (age 28) 42 4 Netherlands Heerenveen
7 MF Roni Porokara December 12, 1983 (1983-12-12) (age 26) 10 2 Sweden Örebro
11 MF Joonas Kolkka September 28, 1974 (1974-09-28) (age 35) 98 11 Netherlands NAC Breda
8 MF Kasper Hämäläinen August 8, 1986 (1986-08-08) (age 23) 6 0 Sweden Djurgården
15 MF Juska Savolainen July 1, 1983 (1983-07-01) (age 26) 1 0 Norway FK Haugesund
10 FW Jari Litmanen February 20, 1971 (1971-02-20) (age 39) 131 31 Finland Lahti
16 FW Jonatan Johansson August 16, 1975 (1975-08-16) (age 34) 102 22 Finland TPS
20 FW Teemu Pukki March 29, 1990 (1990-03-29) (age 19) 2 0 Spain Sevilla Atlético

Recent call ups

No. Pos. Player DoB (Age) Caps Goals Club
1 GK Jussi Jääskeläinen April 19, 1975 (1975-04-19) (age 34) 55 0 England Bolton Wanderers
12 GK Lukas Hradecky November 24, 1989 (1989-11-24) (age 20) 0 0 Denmark Esbjerg fB
3 DF Ari Nyman February 7, 1984 (1984-02-07) (age 26) 21 0 Finland Inter Turku
4 DF Jani Lyyski March 16, 1983 (1983-03-16) (age 27) 1 0 Sweden Djurgården
14 DF Hannu Patronen May 23, 1984 (1984-05-23) (age 25) 5 0 Sweden Helsingborgs IF
19 DF Joni Aho April 12, 1986 (1986-04-12) (age 23) 1 0 Finland Inter Turku
20 DF Paulus Arajuuri June 15, 1988 (1988-06-15) (age 21) 1 0 Sweden Kalmar FF
4 DF Sami Hyypiä October 7, 1973 (1973-10-07) (age 36) 103 5 Germany Bayer Leverkusen
5 DF Hannu Tihinen July 1, 1976 (1976-07-01) (age 33) 76 5 Switzerland Zürich
2 DF Petri Pasanen September 24, 1980 (1980-09-24) (age 29) 57 1 Germany Werder Bremen
MF Markus Heikkinen October 13, 1978 (1978-10-13) (age 31) 50 0 Austria Rapid Wien
6 MF Joel Perovuo August 11, 1985 (1985-08-11) (age 24) 1 0 Sweden Djurgården
17 MF Sebastian Sorsa January 25, 1984 (1984-01-25) (age 26) 1 0 Finland HJK
18 MF Mika Ojala June 21, 1988 (1988-06-21) (age 21) 1 0 Finland Inter Turku
6 MF Alexei Eremenko March 24, 1983 (1983-03-24) (age 26) 43 13 Finland FF Jaro
8 MF Perparim Hetemaj December 12, 1986 (1986-12-12) (age 23) 2 0 Italy Brescia
MF Daniel Sjölund April 22, 1983 (1983-04-22) (age 26) 22 2 Sweden Djurgården
18 FW Shefki Kuqi November 10, 1976 (1976-11-10) (age 33) 60 7 Wales Swansea City
FW Berat Sadik September 14, 1986 (1986-09-14) (age 23) 4 0 Belgium Zulte Waregem
FW Niklas Tarvajärvi March 13, 1983 (1983-03-13) (age 27) 4 0 Germany Karlsruhe
9 FW Mikael Forssell March 15, 1981 (1981-03-15) (age 29) 65 19 Germany Hannover
9 FW Hermanni Vuorinen January 27, 1985 (1985-01-27) (age 25) 1 0 Finland Honka
11 FW Timo Furuholm August 11, 1987 (1987-08-11) (age 22) 1 0 Finland Inter Turku

Coaching staff

Player records

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Most capped players

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Jari Litmanen 1989- 131 31
2 Sami Hyypiä 1992- 105 5
3 Jonatan Johansson 1996- 102 22
4 Ari Hjelm 1983-96 100 20
5 Joonas Kolkka 1994- 98 11
6 Erkka Petäjä 1983-94 83 0
7 Arto Tolsa 1964-81 76 10
= Hannu Tihinen 1997- 76 5
9 Toni Kuivasto 1997- 73 1
10 Mika Nurmela 1992-2007 71 4

Top goalscorers

# Name Career Goals Caps
1 Jari Litmanen 1989- 31 129
2 Jonatan Johansson 1996- 22 100
3 Ari Hjelm 1983-96 20 100
4 Mikael Forssell 1999- 19 65
5 Mika-Matti Paatelainen 1986-2000 18 70
6 Verner Eklöf 1919-27 17 32
7 Aulis Koponen 1924-35 16 39
= Gunnar Åström 1923-37 16 44
9 William Kanerva 1922-38 13 51
= Jorma Vaihela 1947-54 13 33
  • Correct as of October 14, 2008
  • Players who are still active and available for selection are in bold.

Managers

Coach Nat Tenure Matches Wins Draws Losses Win %
None 1911–1921 17 6 2 9 35.3
Öhman, JarlJarl Öhman Finland 1922 4 1 0 3 25.0
None 1923–1935 77 22 12 43 28.6
Fabra, FerdinandFerdinand Fabra Germany 1936–1937 8 1 1 6 12.5
None 1937–1938 9 3 0 6 33.3
Obitz, GáborGábor Obitz Hungary 1939 6 1 0 5 16.7
None 1939–1943 7 0 1 6 0.0
Mårtensson, AxelAxel Mårtensson Sweden 1945 2 0 0 2 0.0
Tammisalo, NiiloNiilo Tammisalo Finland 1946 3 0 0 3 0.0
Lehtonen, AatosAatos Lehtonen Finland 1947–1955 51 7 9 35 13.7
Weinreich, KurtKurt Weinreich Germany 1955–1958 23 3 1 19 13.0
Lehtonen, AatosAatos Lehtonen Finland 1959–1961 19 3 0 16 15.8
Laaksonen, OlaviOlavi Laaksonen Finland 1962–1974 91 16 21 54 17.6
Kosma, MarttiMartti Kosma Finland 1975 2 0 1 1 0.0
Rytkönen, AulisAulis Rytkönen Finland 1975–1978 30 8 4 18 26.7
Malm, EskoEsko Malm Finland 1979–1981 27 4 6 17 14.8
Kuusela, MarttiMartti Kuusela Finland 1982–1987 53 9 11 33 17.0
Vakkila, JukkaJukka Vakkila Finland 1988–1992 48 7 21 20 14.6
Lindholm, TommyTommy Lindholm Finland 1993–1994 25 5 7 13 20.0
Ikäläinen, JukkaJukka Ikäläinen Finland 1994–1996 21 7 4 10 33.3
Møller Nielsen, RichardRichard Møller Nielsen Denmark 1996–1999 34 9 12 13 26.5
Muurinen, AnttiAntti Muurinen Finland 2000–2005 72 34 12 26 47.2
Heliskoski, JyrkiJyrki Heliskoski Finland 2005 6 2 2 2 33.3
Hodgson, RoyRoy Hodgson England 2006–2007 22 6 11 5 27.3
Baxter, StuartStuart Baxter England 2008– 7 2 2 3 28.57
  • Correct as of March 28, 2009

See also

References

  1. ^ BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Hodgson to return for Inter role
  2. ^ Suomen Palloliitto - Etusivu (Finnish)
  3. ^ Palkittu Bubi käväisi yllättäen palkitsemistilaisuudessa - HS.fi - Kaupunki
  4. ^ Suomen Palloliitto - Etusivu (Finnish)

External links


Simple English

Finland
Association Football Association of Finland
Confederation UEFA
Coach Stuart Baxter
Most caps Jari Litmanen (120)
Top scorer Jari Litmanen (30)
World Cup
Appearances 0

Finland national football team is the national football team of Finland.

Most appearances

PosPlayerAppsGoalsCareer
1Jari Litmanen120301989-present
2Ari Hjelm100201983-1996
3Sami Hyypiä9551992-present
4Jonatan Johansson91171996-present
5Joonas Kolkka89111994-present
6Erkka Petäjä8301983-1994
7Arto Tolsa76101964-1981
8Toni Kuivasto7311997-present
9Mika Nurmela7141992-2007
10Mixu Paatelainen70181986-2000

Top scorers

PosPlayerGoalsAppsCareer
1Jari Litmanen301201989-present
2Ari Hjelm201001983-1996
3Mixu Paatelainen18701986-2000
3Mikael Forssell18591999-present
5Verner Eklöf17321919-1927
5Jonatan Johansson17911996-present
7Aulis Koponen16391924-1935
7Gunnar Åström16441923-1937
9William Kanerva13511922-1938
9Jorma Vaihela13331947-1954


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