The Finland Euro 2020 squad for this summer has been announced.
British football fans will recognise Norwich's Teemu Pukki and Rangers' Glen Kamara among the picks, as well as QPR's Niko Hamalainen, Brentford's Marcus Forss and Bristol Rovers' Anssi Jaakkola.
Finland Euro 2020 squad: Full 26-man team
- GK: Jesse Joronen (Brescia)
- GK: Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen)
- GK: Anssi Jaakkola (Bristol Rovers)
- DF: Jukka Raitala (Minnesota United)
- DF: Joona Toivio (Hacken)
- DF: Leo Väisänen (Elfsborg)
- DF: Sauli Väisänent (Chievo)
- DF: Paulus Arajuuri (Pafos)
- DF: Daniel O'Shaughnessy (HJK)
- DF: Jere Uronen (Genk)
- DF: Nikolai Alho (MTK)
- DF: Robert Ivanov (Warta Poznan)
- DF: Pyry Soiri (Esbjerg)
- MF: Robert Taylor (Brann)
- MF: Robin Lod (Minnesota United)
- MF: Tim Sparv (AEL)
- MF: Rasmus Schuller (Djurgarden)
- MF: Thomas Lam (Zwolle)
- MF: Fredrik Jensen (Augsburg)
- MF: Glen Kamara (Rangers)
- MF: Joni Kauko (Esbjerg)
- MF: Onni Valakari (Pafos)
- MF: Lassi Lappalainen (Montréal)
- FW: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)
- FW: Joel Pohjanpalo (Union Berlin)
- FW: Marcus Forss (Brentford)
Finland Euro 2020 squad: Team preview
The year-long delay to Finland’s first ever appearance at a major tournament was initially greeted with heavy-sighed frustration by the long-suffering fans of Finnish football – but it may actually work in their favour.
The Huuhkajat (‘Eagle-owls’) had an impressive autumn that sent confidence rocketing to new heights, following home and away victories over both Ireland and Bulgaria in the Nations League, plus the cherry on top: a stunning friendly win over the reigning world champions, France. A tighter defence, busier midfield and rejuvenated strike force have made Markku Kanerva’s team an altogether different proposition to the one they represented 12 months ago.
Most notably, a number of key players have benefited from the unwelcome wait. Bayer Leverkusen’s Lukas Hradecky used the time to establish himself as one of the Bundesliga’s best goalkeepers; midfield lynchpin Glen Kamara helped Rangers to their first title for 10 years; and Teemu Pukki rediscovered the form that seemed to abandon him in Norwich’s rudderless relegation from the Premier League.
And while the resurgence of Finland’s GOAT (yes, that’s literally what ‘pukki’ means in Finnish) is welcome, the team has become less reliant on him: Augsburg attacker Fredrik Jensen was their top scorer in the Nations League and the match-winner against Ireland on both occasions. The emerging talents of Onni Valakari and Brentford’s Marcus Forss have weighed in with their share to demonstrate the squad’s depth.
Yet there are clouds of caution in the Eagle-owls’ sky. Their Nations League was sandwiched by home and away defeats to Wales, and losing 5-1 to Poland was
a setback even with a second-string XI.
You might say those defeats were ideal for keeping Finland grounded, but it’s unlikely they were ever getting carried away in the first place. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie coursing through this squad, but Kanerva – himself a former international, alongside assistant Mika Nurmela and goalkeeper coach Antti Niemi – also has talent and ambition to call upon, among an impressive group of players. They are ready to represent their country with pride on this historic first venture into the Euros for a nation of 5.5 million. Banners out for a Pukki party…
Finland Euro 2020 squad: Who is Finland's manager?
Markku Kanerva manages Finland's national team, taking over the role in 2016 following five years as assistant. He has only managed Finland's U21 team and FC Viikingit before.
The 56-year-old becomes the first ever manager to lead Finland to a major tournament. Finland also topped their UEFA Nations League Division C group in the 2018/19 season.
Finland Euro 2020 squad: Who is Finland's best player?
Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki is Finland's best and most important player. With 90 caps, the 31-year-old is also the squad's most experienced international player, and has scored 30 goals in that period to ensure an impressive goal scoring record.
One of the Championship's standout players once again this season following Norwich's relegation last season, Pukki has helped the Canaries back to the Premier League for the second time in three years with his goals.
Also among Finland's squad is Rangers' Glen Kamara, Brentford's Marcus Forss and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký.
Finland Euro 2020 squad: Finland's past Euros record
Finland will make their first appearance at a European Championship in Euro 2020, having never qualified for the tournament before.
The Scandinavian country didn't enter the first two tournaments in 1960 and 1964, but have attempted to qualify for every tournament since.
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