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Finland

Finland
The owl sits atop the goal at the Olympic stadium ©Getty Images

Finland

Best result: never qualified
Coach: Mixu Paatelainen
Leading scorers: all-time – Jari Litmanen (32); current – Mikael Forssell (29) 
Most appearances: all-time – Jari Litmanen (137); current – Mikael Forssell (86) 
Association formed: 1907
Nickname: Huuhkajat (Eagle Owls)
Where they play: Olympic Stadium, Helsinki

Having never reached a major tournament Finland's international record is modest, although with Englishman Roy Hodgson in charge they challenged strongly for a place at UEFA EURO 2008, losing just two of their 14 matches, and also proved competitive under Scotsman Stuart Baxter on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, winning five of their ten games. A 1-1 draw away to Spain was the highlight of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

EURO pedigree
Matches played
Overall: P94 W24 D21 L49 F100 A152
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P94 W24 D21 L49 F100 A152

It took Finland 19 UEFA European Championship qualifiers to record their first win, beating Greece 3-0 and following that up with a 2-1 triumph over Hungary at the start of their 1980 campaign. Home and away draws with the Soviet Union underlined their potential but an 8-1 defeat by Greece in Athens fatally undermined it – Finland missed out on a finals place by a point.

That inconsistency has been a feature of their campaigns. Hodgson's team made a flying start to UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying, but back-to-back defeats by Azerbaijan and Serbia proved costly as a concluding goalless draw with Portugal left them fourth in the eight-team section. Finland went into the 2012 campaign with optimism, but successive defeats by Moldova, Netherlands and Hungary meant they were always up against it. Baxter departed, and after interim spells under Olli Huttunen and then Markku Kanerva, Mixu Paatelainen took the reins in spring 2011, victories against San Marino and Moldova and a point in Budapest lifting them to fourth.

Memorable EURO matches
06/06/2007: Finland 2-0 Belgium, UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying
Finland gained a fine win and a new nickname as an eagle owl halted the first-half proceedings.

14/12/1994: Finland 4-1 San Marino, EURO '96 qualifying
A rare early winter home game was a triumph as Paatelainen, then 27, scored all four Finland goals.

09/09/1987: Finland 3-0 Czechoslovakia, 1988 UEFA European Championship qualifying
Martti Kuusela's five-year tenure ended in style as his players carried him around a victory lap.

Did you know?
The eagle owl that interrupted the 2007 match with Belgium at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Bubi, was named Helsinki Citizen of the Year that December.

*Last updated 07/01/14

Last updated: 28/01/14 15.27CET

http://www.uefa.com/teamsandplayers/teams/teama/team=42/profile/index.html#finland

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    17/11/2010, Finland 8-0 San Marino, Helsinki
  • Biggest defeat:
    11/10/1978, Greece 8-1 Finland, Athens
  • Appearances in UEFA European Football Championship: 13
  • Player with most appearances: 38
    Jari Litmanen (FIN)
  • Top scorers: 10
    Mixu Paatelainen (FIN)
    Jari Litmanen (FIN)
    Mikael Forssell (FIN)
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