UEFA EURO 2020 contenders in focus: Finland
Friday, January 29, 2021
UEFA EURO 2020 will be Finland's first appearance at a major tournament.
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UEFA EURO 2020 will be Finland’s first appearance at a major tournament.
Teemu Pukki (87 caps, 27 goals)
Pukki is the player that Finland fans expect to deliver when goals are needed; so often he is able to answer the call. The Norwich City striker, now in his 30s, has developed into more than just a goalscorer and is now a fundamental cog in his country’s attacking play.
Lukas Hradecky (64 caps)
Hradecky has been Finland’s first-choice goalkeeper for several years. The Bayer Leverkusen No1 is not only ever-reliable, but also able to produce real game-changing saves. Blessed with lightning-fast reactions and fleetness of foot, Hradecky adds no shortage of skill, experience and authority to Finland’s defensive setup.
Memorable EURO goals
Forward Jasse Tuominen scored his first and so far only international goal against Liechtenstein in Finland’s decisive EURO qualifier in November 2019. It was not a goal that will live long in the memory for its quality, but few – if any – have ever been more significant to Finnish football. Finland went on to win 3-0.
Though qualification for EURO 2020 stands head and shoulders above all other moments in terms of importance, some fans will also fondly recall 5 June 2007 when an eagle-owl interrupted Finland’s EURO qualifier against Belgium in Helsinki. The bird sat on the crossbar for several minutes, ultimately inspiring the hosts to a 2-0 win and a new ‘Eagle-owls’ nickname which has stuck ever since.
Did you know?
• Ten of Finland’s 16 goals in EURO 2020 qualifying were scored by Pukki.
• Finland went 18 games – and three whole campaigns – without a win in EURO qualifying before a 3-0 defeat of Greece in May 1976.
• Finland coach Markku Kanerva, assistant Mika Nurmela and goalkeeper coach Antti Niemi have 197 international caps between them.