Finland national football team

The Finland national football team (Finnish: Suomen jalkapallomaajoukkue, Swedish: Finlands fotbollslandslag) represents Finland in international football competitions and is controlled by the Football Association of Finland.

Finland
Nickname(s)Huuhkajat
(The Eagle-owls)[1]
AssociationFootball Association of Finland
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachMarkku Kanerva
CaptainTim Sparv
Most capsJari Litmanen (137)
Top scorerJari Litmanen (32)
Home stadiumVarious
FIFA codeFIN
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 58 3 (28 November 2019)[2]
Highest33 (March 2007)
Lowest110 (July–August 2017)
Elo ranking
Current 49 3 (25 November 2019)[3]
Highest30[4] (March 2002)
Lowest125[4] (1962–63)
First international
Finland 2–5 Sweden 
(Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire; 22 October 1911)
Biggest win
 Finland 10–2 Estonia 
(Helsinki, Finland; 11 August 1922)
 Finland 8–0 San Marino 
(Helsinki, Finland; 17 November 2010)
Biggest defeat
 Germany 13–0 Finland 
(Leipzig, Germany; 1 September 1940)
European Championship
Appearances1 (first in 2020)

Finland had not qualified for a major tournament until securing a spot in the 2020 European Championship, and are the only Nordic team alongside minnows Faroe Islands to have never reached the FIFA World Cup finals. After many decades of relative obscurity, the nation made progression in the 2000s, achieving notable results against established European teams and reaching a peak of 33rd in the FIFA World Rankings in 2007. After a few years of poor results, they dipped to an all-time low of 110th in the FIFA rankings in 2017, but then began to rise up again and, as of October 2019, they sit at 55th.

History

Early history

The Football Association of Finland was founded in 1907 and became a member of FIFA in 1908. At the time, Finland was an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire. Finland played its first international on 22 October 1911, as Sweden beat the Finns at the Eläintarha Stadium in Helsinki. Finland participated the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, beating Italy and the Russian Empire, but losing the bronze medal match against the Netherlands.

Period of dispersion

After the 1918 Civil War, the Finnish sports movement was divided into the right-wing Finnish Gymnastics and Sports Federation (SVUL) and the leftist Finnish Workers' Sports Federation (TUL), Finnish Football Association was a member of the SVUL.[5] Both sides had their own championship series, and between 1919–1939 the Finland national team was selected of the Football Association players only. The Finnish Workers' Sports Federation football team in turn, participated the competitions of the international labour movement.[6]

However, since the late 1920s several top footballers defected from TUL and joined the Football Association to be eligible for the national team. During the 1930s, these ″defectors″ formed the spine of the national team. For example, the Finland squad at the 1936 Summer Olympics was composed of eight former TUL players.[6] In 1937, Finland participated the FIFA World Cup qualification for the first time, losing all three matches against Sweden, Germany and Estonia.

Since 1939, TUL players were selected to the national team and finally in 1956, the TUL and Football Association series were merged.[6]

Post-war years

The 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki saw the Finnish hosts lose to Austria in the first round. Finland did, however, win the unofficial Nordic championship in 1964 and 1966.[7]

Finland also took part in European Championship qualifying since the 1968 event, but had to wait for its first win until 1978.

Later 20th century

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 (which seen the Finns jump from 40th–30th in the Elo ranking[4]). 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.[8] His replacement was a Scotsman, Stuart Baxter, who signed a contract until the end of the 2012 European Championship qualification campaign.[9]

Recent history

In the Euro 2008 qualifying Finland needed to win their last qualifying game away at Portugal to qualify for their first major football tournament. However, the match ended 0–0 meaning the team missed out on qualification to the tournament, with Finland ending the group stage with 24 points and Portugal with 27 points. However, the performance in qualifying led to the Finns gaining their best-ever FIFA world ranking to date at the position of 33rd.

The 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign under new head coach Stuart Baxter saw Finland again finish third in their group with five wins, three draws and two defeats. They were the only team in qualifying not to lose to eventual 3rd-place finishers Germany; in both the home and away matches Finland had led Germany only to concede late equalisers. Finland finished a disappointing fourth in Euro 2012 qualifying, with only three wins, two of them against minnows San Marino.

In the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, Finland's best result was a 1–1 draw at reigning world champions Spain. They finished third in the five-team Group I, behind Spain and France. Finland finished fourth in Euro 2016 qualifying but achieved another noteworthy result. Joel Pohjanpalo's goal gave the Finns a 1–0 win at former European champions Greece, who had reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup and were the top seeds of their qualifying group.

The 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign saw Finland finish a disappointing fifth in their group with only two wins, although one of them was over Iceland, who finished top of the qualifying group.

On 15 November 2019, Finland managed to qualify to the first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2020, in their history after defeating Liechtenstein 3–0.[10] The successful qualifying campaign in Group J, was aided by a distinctive performance of Teemu Pukki, who scored ten goals in the qualifications.[11]

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 and Veritas Stadion in Turku. Helsinki's Telia 5G -areena, which has artificial turf, is also used for some friendlies and qualifiers. During reconstruction of Helsinki Olympic Stadium in 2016–19 Ratina Stadion serves as the main stadium for qualifying games.

Competitive record

World Cup record

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1930 Did not enter Did not enter
1934
1938 Did not qualify 3 0 0 3 0 7
1950 Withdrew during qualifying 2 0 1 1 1 4
1954 Did not qualify 4 0 2 2 7 13
1958 4 0 0 4 2 19
1962 4 0 0 4 3 12
1966 6 1 0 5 5 20
1970 6 1 0 5 6 28
1974 6 1 1 4 3 21
1978 6 2 0 4 11 16
1982 8 1 0 7 4 27
1986 8 3 2 3 7 12
1990 6 1 1 4 4 16
1994 10 2 1 7 9 18
1998 8 3 2 3 11 12
2002 8 3 3 2 12 7
2006 12 5 1 6 21 19
2010 10 5 3 2 14 14
2014 8 2 3 3 5 9
2018 10 2 3 5 9 13
2022 To be determined To be determined
2026
Total 0/23 129 32 23 74 134 287

European Championship record

UEFA European Championship record UEFA European Championship qualifying record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1960 Did not enter Did not enter
1964
1968 Did not qualify 6 0 2 4 5 12
1972 6 0 1 5 1 16
1976 6 0 1 5 3 13
1980 6 2 2 2 10 15
1984 6 0 1 5 3 14
1988 6 1 1 4 4 10
1992 8 1 4 3 5 8
1996 10 5 0 5 18 18
2000 8 3 1 4 13 13
2004 8 3 1 4 9 10
2008 14 6 6 2 13 7
2012 10 3 1 6 16 16
2016 10 3 3 4 9 10
2020 Qualified 10 6 0 4 16 10
2024 To be determined To be determined
Total 1/17 114 33 24 57 125 172

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League record
Year Division Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA
2018–19 C Group stage
Promoted
1st640253
2020–21 B To be determined
Total Group stage
League C
1/1 6 4 0 2 5 3

Summer Olympics

Olympics record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
1896was not involved
1900
1904
1908
1912Fourth Place4th4202516
Since 1917, Declaration of Independence
1920Did not qualify
1924
1928
1932
1936Round of 1614th100137
1948Did not qualify
1952Round of 169th100134
1956Did not qualify
1960
1964
1968
1972
1976
1980Group stage9th311132
1984Did not qualify
1988
1992
1996
2000
2004
2008
2012
2016
2020
Total4/250 Titles93151429

Nordic Football Championship

Nordic Football Championship record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA
1929–32 Fourth place 4th 12 2 2 8 23 52
1933–36 12 3 1 8 18 36
1937–47 12 1 1 10 12 51
1948–51 12 1 3 8 11 28
1952–55 12 1 1 10 13 53
1956–59 12 0 1 11 8 44
1960–63 12 2 2 8 14 37
1964–67 Third place 3rd 12 5 2 5 14 17
1968–71 Fourth place 4th 12 0 4 8 10 31
1972–77 12 1 4 7 10 26
1978–80 6 1 4 7 10 26
1981–85 6 1 1 4 7 11
2000–01 Champions 1st 5 4 0 1 7 3
Total 1 Title 13/14 137 21 24 92 150 401
*Gold background color indicates that the tournament was won.

Baltic Cup

Baltic Cup (football) Record
Year Result GP W D L GS GA
2012Runners-up211032
2014Third place210121
Total2/27421153

All–time record against all nations

This list is Finland national team complete records, both friendlies and competitive matches.[12]

Recent fixtures and results

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Liechtenstein and Greece on 15 November and 18 November 2019.[13][14]
Caps and goals as of 18 November 2019 after the game against Greece.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Lukáš Hrádecký (Vice captain) (1989-11-24) 24 November 1989 57 0 Bayer Leverkusen
12 1GK Jesse Joronen (1993-03-21) 21 March 1993 9 0 Brescia
23 1GK Anssi Jaakkola (1987-03-13) 13 March 1987 3 0 Bristol Rovers

2 2DF Paulus Arajuuri (1988-06-15) 15 June 1988 43 3 Pafos
3 2DF Daniel O'Shaughnessy (1994-09-14) 14 September 1994 3 0 HJK
4 2DF Joona Toivio (1988-04-04) 4 April 1988 66 3 Häcken
5 2DF Leo Väisänen (1997-07-23) 23 July 1997 2 0 Den Bosch
15 2DF Sauli Väisänen (1994-06-05) 5 June 1994 18 0 Chievo
16 2DF Juha Pirinen (1991-10-22) 22 October 1991 18 0 Tromsø
18 2DF Thomas Lam (1993-12-18) 18 December 1993 22 0 PEC Zwolle
22 2DF Jukka Raitala (1988-09-15) 15 September 1988 50 0 Montreal Impact
2DF Albin Granlund (1989-09-01) 1 September 1989 18 0 Örebro

6 3MF Glen Kamara (1995-10-28) 28 October 1995 19 1 Rangers
8 3MF Robin Lod (1993-04-17) 17 April 1993 38 3 Minnesota United
9 3MF Fredrik Jensen (1997-09-09) 9 September 1997 11 4 Augsburg
11 3MF Rasmus Schüller (1991-06-18) 18 June 1991 39 0 Free agent
13 3MF Pyry Soiri (1994-09-22) 22 September 1994 22 5 Esbjerg
14 3MF Tim Sparv (Captain) (1987-02-20) 20 February 1987 73 1 Midtjylland
17 3MF Simon Skrabb (1995-01-19) 19 January 1995 14 0 Norrköping
19 3MF Joni Kauko (1990-07-12) 12 July 1990 16 0 Esbjerg
21 3MF Robert Taylor (1994-10-21) 21 October 1994 10 0 Tromsø

7 4FW Jasse Tuominen (1995-11-12) 12 November 1995 14 1 BATE Borisov
10 4FW Teemu Pukki (1990-03-29) 29 March 1990 80 25 Norwich City
20 4FW Rasmus Karjalainen (1996-04-04) 4 April 1996 10 1 Fortuna Sittard

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up for the team in the last twelve months. Only players available for call-up, not retired players.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Walter Viitala (1992-01-09) 9 January 1992 2 0 Sandefjord v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
GK Rasmus Leislahti (2000-06-16) 16 June 2000 0 0 Honka v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
GK Hugo Keto (1998-02-09) 9 February 1998 0 0 Brighton & Hove Albion v.  Sweden, 8 January 2019 PRE

DF Jere Uronen (1994-07-13) 13 July 1994 40 1 Genk v.  Armenia, 15 October 2019
DF Niko Markkula (1990-06-27) 27 June 1990 0 0 Inter Turku v.  Italy, 8 September 2019
DF Mikko Sumusalo (1990-03-12) 12 March 1990 7 1 Honka v.  Armenia, 26 March 2019
DF Valtteri Moren (1991-06-15) 15 June 1991 5 1 Waasland-Beveren v.  Armenia, 26 March 2019
DF Juhani Ojala (1989-06-19) 19 June 1989 26 1 Vejle v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
DF Robert Ivanov (1994-09-19) 19 September 1994 3 0 Honka v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
DF Niko Hämäläinen (1997-03-05) 5 March 1997 1 0 Kilmarnock v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
DF Henri Toivomäki (1991-02-21) 21 February 1991 1 0 HJK v.  Sweden, 8 January 2019 PRE
DF Juho Pirttijoki (1996-07-30) 30 July 1996 1 0 KuPS v.  Sweden, 8 January 2019 INJ
DF Jonas Levänen (1994-01-12) 12 January 1994 0 0 Honka v.  Sweden, 8 January 2019 INJ

MF Petteri Forsell (1990-10-16) 16 October 1990 10 1 HJK v.  Armenia, 15 October 2019
MF Kasper Hämäläinen (1986-08-08) 8 August 1986 62 9 Jablonec v.  Armenia, 26 March 2019
MF Sebastian Dahlström (1996-11-05) 5 November 1996 3 0 HJK v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
MF Saku Ylätupa (1999-08-04) 4 August 1999 3 0 AIK v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
MF Kaan Kairinen (1998-12-22) 22 December 1998 2 0 Midtjylland v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019

FW Joel PohjanpaloINJ (1994-09-13) 13 September 1994 31 7 Bayer Leverkusen v.  Greece, 18 November 2019
FW Lassi Lappalainen (1998-08-24) 24 August 1998 8 0 Montreal Impact v.  Armenia, 15 October 2019
FW Benjamin Källman (1998-06-17) 17 June 1998 2 1 Viking v.  Liechtenstein, 11 June 2019
FW Eero Markkanen (1991-07-03) 3 July 1991 17 2 Free agent v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
FW Tim Väyrynen (1993-03-30) 30 March 1993 12 0 HJK v.  Estonia, 11 January 2019
  • INJ = Withdrew due to an injury.

Coaching staff

[15][16][17]

Position Name
Head Coach Markku Kanerva
Assistant Coach Mika Nurmela
Assistant Coach Kari Martonen
Goalkeeping Coach Antti Niemi
Fitness Coach Jari-Pekka Keurulainen
Physiotherapists Jari-Pekka Keurulainen
Paavo Leiramo
Video Analyst Henri Lehto
Doctor Heikki Kinnunen
Osteopath Hannu Kanerva
Kit Manager Jari Parikka
Team Manager Lennart Wangel

Player records

    As of 18 November 2019
    • Players who are still active and available for selection are in bold

    Most capped players

    Rank Name Career Caps Goals
    1Jari Litmanen1989–201013732
    2Sami Hyypiä1992–20101055
    Jonatan Johansson1996–201010522
    4Ari Hjelm1983–199610020
    5Joonas Kolkka1994–20109811
    6Mikael Forssell1999–20148729
    7Erkka Petäjä1983–1994840
    8Teemu Pukki2009–8025
    9Arto Tolsa1964–19817710
    10Hannu Tihinen1997–2010765
    Petri Pasanen2000–2013761

    Top goalscorers

    Rank Name Career Goals Caps Average
    1Jari Litmanen1989–2010321370.23
    2Mikael Forssell1999–201429870.33
    3Teemu Pukki2009–25800.31
    4Jonatan Johansson1996–2010221050.21
    5Ari Hjelm1983–1996201000.2
    6Mika-Matti Paatelainen1986–200018700.23
    7Verner Eklöf1919–192717320.53
    8Aulis Koponen1924–193516390.41
    Gunnar Åström1923–193716440.36
    10Alexei Eremenko2003–201314570.25

    Managers

    Last updated: 13 Oct 2015.

    Tenure Nat Coach Record
    G W D L Win %
    1911–21None 17 6 2 9 035.29
    1922 Jarl Öhman 4 1 0 3 025.00
    1923–35None 77 22 12 43 028.57
    1936–37 Ferdinand Fabra 8 1 1 6 012.50
    1937–38None 9 3 0 6 033.33
    1939 Gábor Obitz 6 1 0 5 016.67
    1939–43None 7 0 1 6 000.00
    1945 Axel Mårtensson 2 0 0 2 000.00
    1946 Niilo Tammisalo 3 0 0 3 000.00
    1947–55 Aatos Lehtonen 51 7 9 35 013.73
    1955–58 Kurt Weinreich 23 3 1 19 013.04
    1959–61 Aatos Lehtonen 19 3 0 16 015.79
    1962–74 Olavi Laaksonen 91 16 21 54 017.58
    1975 Martti Kosma 2 0 1 1 000.00
    1975–78 Aulis Rytkönen 30 8 4 18 026.67
    1979–81 Esko Malm 27 4 6 17 014.81
    1982–87 Martti Kuusela 53 9 11 33 016.98
    1988–92 Jukka Vakkila 48 7 21 20 014.58
    1993–94 Tommy Lindholm 25 5 7 13 020.00
    1994–96 Jukka Ikäläinen 21 7 4 10 033.33
    1996–99 Richard Møller Nielsen 34 9 12 13 026.47
    2000–05 Antti Muurinen 72 34 12 26 047.22
    2005 Jyrki Heliskoski (caretaker) 6 2 2 2 033.33
    2006–07 Roy Hodgson 22 6 11 5 027.27
    2008–10 Stuart Baxter 31 8 6 17 025.81
    2010-2011 Olli Huttunen (caretaker) 1 1 0 0 100.00
    2011 Markku Kanerva (caretaker) 2 0 1 1 000.00
    2011–2015 Mixu Paatelainen 43 17 11 15 039.53
    2015 Markku Kanerva (caretaker) 5 3 2 0 060.00
    2016 Hans Backe 13 0 3 10 000.00
    2016– Markku Kanerva 26 13 5 8 050.00
    Total 749 182 160 407 024.30

    Honours

    Minor tournaments

    Kits and crest

    Finland's kit are currently supplied by American brand Nike, Inc. They replaced German company Adidas who supplied Finland's kits between 1979 and 2014.

    Kit sponsorship

    Kit supplier Period
    Adidas 1979–2014
    Nike 2014–

    See also

    References

    1. Palkittu Bubi käväisi yllättäen palkitsemistilaisuudessa HS.fi – Kaupunki
    2. "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
    3. Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
    4. "World Football Elo Ratings: Finland". World Football Elo Ratings. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
    5. Andersen, Svein S.; Ronglan, Lars Tore (2012). Nordic Elite Sports: Same Ambitions - Different Tracks. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press. pp. 85–88. ISBN 978-876-30024-5-5.
    6. Syrjäläinen, Antti (2008). Miksi siksi loikkariksi? Huippu-urheilijoiden loikkaukset TUL:sta SVUL:oon 1919–1939. Joensuu: University of Joensuu. pp. 45–47. ISBN 978-952-21913-7-3.
    7. rsssf Nordic championship 1964–66.
    8. Hodgson to return for Inter role BBC Sport, 1 December 2007
    9. Suomen Palloliitto – Etusivu Archived 2011-05-25 at the Wayback Machine (in Finnish)
    10. "Finland 3–0 Liechtenstein". BBC. 15 November 2019.
    11. "Teemu Pukki: From failures in Europe to Finland great - the fall and rise of the Norwich striker". BBC. 12 October 2019.
    12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2015-08-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    13. Huuhkajat nimetty EM-karsinnan päätösotteluihin
    14. Granlund ja O’Shaghnessy mukaan Huuhkajiin
    15. "Markku Kanerva A-maajoukkueen päävalmentajaksi". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
    16. Kari Martonen Huuhkajien valmennusryhmään
    17. Valmennus ja joukkueenjohto
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