Finland national football team
|Association||Football Association of Finland|
|Head coach||Markku Kanerva|
|Most caps||Jari Litmanen (137)|
|Top scorer||Jari Litmanen (32)|
|Home stadium||Helsinki Olympic Stadium|
|Highest||33 (March 2007)|
|Lowest||110 (July–August 2017)|
|Highest||30 (March 2002)|
(Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire; 22 October 1911)
(Helsinki, Finland; 11 August 1922)
(Helsinki, Finland; 17 November 2010)
(Leipzig, Germany; 1 September 1940)
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.
Although the Finnish national team has never qualified for a finals tournament of the World Cup or the European Championships in spite of its long history, the Nordic nation made remarkable progression in the 2000s, reaching a peak of 30th on the Elo Rankings. Under coach Roy Hodgson they achieved notable results against much more established European teams. After a few years of poor results, they dipped to a FIFA ranking of 110, the lowest in their history. However, in the autumn of 2017, Finland began to rise up the FIFA rankings and, as of May 2018, they sit at 62nd.
Finland has also participated on two occasions in the European sub-regional Baltic Cup championship, which takes place every two years between the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Finland's best result in the Baltic Cup tournament was in 2012 when they finished as runners-up. In 2014 Finland finished the tournament in third place.
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. 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.
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. In 1937, Finland participated the FIFA World Cup qualification for the first time, losing all three matches against Sweden, Germany and Estonia.
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). 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. His replacement was a Scotsman, Stuart Baxter, who signed a contract until the end of the 2012 European Championship qualification campaign.
During Euro 2008 qualifying, Finland was at the point of their "golden generation", with a team consisting of players such as Jari Litmanen, Sami Hyypiä, Mikael Forssell, Hannu Tihinen, Petri Pasanen, Joonas Kolkka, Mika Väyrynen and Teemu Tainio. 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.
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 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.
World Cup record
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|Did not enter||Did not enter|
|Did not qualify||3||0||0||3||0||7|
|Withdrew during qualifying||3||0||1||2||2||12|
|Did not qualify||4||0||2||2||7||13|
|To be determined||To be determined|
European Championship record
|UEFA European Championship record||UEFA European Championship qualifying record|
|Did not enter||Did not enter|
|Did not qualify||6||0||2||4||5||12|
|To be determined||To be determined|
UEFA Nations League
|UEFA Nations League record|
|2018–19||C||2||To be determined|
|Round of 16||14th||1||0||0||1||3||7|
|Round of 16||9th||1||0||0||1||3||4|
Nordic Football Championship
|Nordic Football Championship record|
- *Gold background color indicates that the tournament was won.
|Baltic Cup (football) Record|
All–time record against all nations
Recent fixtures and results
|7 June 2017||Finland
||1–1||Veritas Stadion, Turku|
Referee: Mohammed Al-Hakim (Sweden)
|9 November 2017||Finland
||3–0||Telia 5G -areena, Helsinki|
|11 January 2018||Jordan
||1–2||Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi|
|23 March 2018||Finland
||0–0||Gloria Sports Arena, Belek|
Referee: Mete Kalkavan (Turkey)
|26 March 2018||Finland
||5–0||Gloria Sports Arena, Belek|
Referee: Hüseyin Göçek (Turkey)
|5 June 2018||Romania
||2–0||Stadionul Ilie Oană, Ploiești|
Referee: Robert Harvey (Republic of Ireland)
The following players have been called up for the UEFA Nations League matches against Hungary on 8 September 2018 and Estonia on 11 September 2018.
Caps and goals as of 9 June 2018 after the game against Belarus.
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||9 January 1992||1||0||v. |
|GK||Hugo Keto||9 February 1998||0||0||v. |
|DF||Juha Pirinen||22 October 1991||10||0||v. |
|DF||Juhani Ojala||19 June 1989||23||1||v. |
|DF||Kalle Taimi||27 January 1992||2||1||v. |
|DF||Daniel O'Shaughnessy||14 September 1994||2||0||v. |
|DF||Juho Pirttijoki||30 July 1996||1||0||v. |
|DF||Joel Mero||7 February 1995||0||0||v. |
|DF||Dani Hatakka||12 March 1994||0||0||v. |
|DF||Valtteri Moren||15 June 1991||4||1||v. |
|MF||Thomas Lam||18 December 1993||18||0||v. |
|MF||Moshtagh Yaghoubi||8 November 1994||6||1||v. |
|MF||Alexander Ring||9 April 1991||43||2||v. |
|MF||Fredrik Jensen||9 September 1997||6||2||v. |
|MF||Kasper Hämäläinen||8 August 1986||60||8||v. |
|MF||Riku Riski||16 August 1989||27||4||v. |
|MF||Kaan Kairinen||22 December 1998||0||0||v. |
|FW||Berat Sadik||14 September 1986||13||1||v. |
|FW||Tim Väyrynen||29 March 1993||10||0||v. |
|FW||Joel Pohjanpalo||13 September 1994||29||6||v. |
|FW||Akseli Pelvas||8 February 1989||7||1||v. |
|FW||Benjamin Källman||17 June 1998||1||0||v. |
|FW||Santeri Hostikka||30 September 1997||0||0||v. |
|FW||Aleksandr Kokko||4 June 1987||1||0||v. |
- INJ = Withdrew due to an injury.
- * = Roman Eremenko is suspended from competitive football until December 2018.
Most capped players
- Correct as of March 24, 2017
- Players who are still active and available for selection are in bold
Last updated: 13 Oct 2015.
- Sortable table available in Finnish Wikipedia: Finland national football team.
|1996–99||Richard Møller Nielsen||34||9||12||13||26.47|
|2005||Jyrki Heliskoski (caretaker)||6||2||2||2||33.33|
|2010||Olli Huttunen (caretaker)||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|2011||Markku Kanerva (caretaker)||2||0||1||1||0.00|
|2015||Markku Kanerva (caretaker)||5||3||2||0||60.00|
Kits and crest
- Palkittu Bubi käväisi yllättäen palkitsemistilaisuudessa HS.fi – Kaupunki
- "World Football Elo Ratings: Finland". World Football Elo Ratings. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- 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.
- 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.
- rsssf Nordic championship 1964–66.
- Hodgson to return for Inter role BBC Sport, 1 December 2007
- Suomen Palloliitto – Etusivu Archived 2011-05-25 at the Wayback Machine. (in Finnish)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
- Huuhkajat Romanian vieraaksi kesäkuun alussa
- Huuhkajat isännöi Valko-Venäjää kesäkuussa
- Huuhkajat Romanian vieraaksi kesäkuun alussa
- Huuhkajat nimetty Nations Leaguen avausotteluihin
- Huuhkajia täydennetty kahdella pelaajalla
- Markku Kanerva A-maajoukkueen päävalmentajaksi
- Kari Martonen Huuhkajien valmennusryhmään
- Huuhkajat Islantia ja Kosovoa vastaan
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