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Matikainen leaves Finland for Wales

The Football Association of Finland's head of national teams and youth coach Jarmo Matikainen is to leave in October to lead Wales in their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying campaign.

Jarmo Matikainen is to coach Wales
Jarmo Matikainen is to coach Wales ©FA of Finland/Jussi Es

Jarmo Matikainen will leave his post as Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF) head of national teams to become coach of the Wales women's squads at senior, Under-19 and U17 levels.

The 50-year-old will take his new role in October in time to lead Wales in UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying. In addition, it will be his job to coordinate a strategy for women's football in Wales with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Welsh Football Trust. Before all that, however, he will coach the Finland women's U19 and U17 sides in their respective UEFA European Championship first qualifying rounds.

Matikainen played for Helsingin Ponnistus 1887 and Kontulan Urheilijat in the top two tiers of Finnish football and then made his name as a coach by guiding FC Viikingit from the fourth to the second division before taking the reins at Ponnistus. In 1999 he joined the SPL-FBF and oversaw the men's U17 team before switching to the women's U19s and leading them to two EURO final tournaments, reaching the last four in 2005 to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

He also assisted senior women's coach Michael Käld as Finland got to the UEFA Women's EURO 2005 semi-finals, and is a regular member of UEFA technical teams at final tournaments, most recently last month's UEFA European U19 Championship in France.

"I'm very proud and grateful that I've had a chance to work for over a decade at the SPL-FBF, and at club level before that," Matikainen said. "Working with Finnish players, coaches and the football family has been a privilege. However, when an opportunity like this comes, it's hard to say no. This step is recognition for all Finnish coaches and football in Finland."

He will succeed Adrian Tucker at the helm of Wales, whose young side lie fourth in their FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying group having beaten the Czech Republic and Belgium, with games to come at home to Azerbaijan on Saturday and in Sweden four days later. Qualifying for EURO 2013 begins next year.