key players, route to final, prediction & more

Finland are back at the Euros following a nine-year absence, having missed out on the tournament in the Netherlands five years earlier.

They qualified in near flawless fashion for this summer’s championships, but have been handed a sizeable task to reach the knockout stages, having been drawn in the group of death.

Here’s everything you need to know about Finland ahead of Euro 2022.

Finland qualified for Euro 2022 with an almost-perfect record, winning seven, drawing once and conceding just twice over the course of their eight games to top their group ahead of Portugal.

Late goals and narrow wins were a common theme across Finland’s qualification campaign; a 1-1 draw with Portugal courtesy of a 90th minute equaliser, a 1-0 win over Scotland thanks to a 95th minute winner, and signing off with 93rd minute winner in their 1-0 victory against Portugal.

Finland did not appear at a major tournament until 2005, but have since qualified for four out of the last five European Championships.

Euro 1984: Did not qualify
Euro 1987: Did not qualify
Euro 1989: Did not qualify
Euro 1991: Did not qualify
Euro 1993: Did not qualify
Euro 1995: Did not qualify
Euro 1997: Did not qualify
Euro 2001: Did not qualify
Euro 2005: Semi finals
Euro 2009: Quarter finals
Euro 2013: Group stages
Euro 2017: Did not qualify

Finland have never qualified for the World Cup, but are currently jostling with the Republic of Ireland for a playoff place ahead of the 2023 tournament.

1991 World Cup: Did not qualify
1995 World Cup: Did not qualify
1999 World Cup: Did not qualify
2003 World Cup: Did not qualify
2007 World Cup: Did not qualify
2011 World Cup: Did not qualify
2015 World Cup: Did not qualify
2019 World Cup: Did not qualify

Natalia Kuikka is a three-time Finland player of the year recipient, and will be key to her country’s chances this summer. The versatile defender plays her club football Portland Thorns – her second spell in the United States, having played college football at Florida State.

The 26-year-old operates at full back in the NWSL, but tends to play at centre back for her country. A sturdy defensive record was pivotal to Finland qualifying for Euro 2022, with Kuikka a huge part of that.

Emma Koivisto is one to watch for Finland – and a familiar face for WSL fans, having spent the past 18 months with Brighton. Fizzing with energy, the 27-year-old can operate in midfield and at full-back, and will likely feature at left-back for Finland this summer.

The woman in the Finland hot seat is a recognisable face for British women’s football fans; Finland are managed by Anna Signeul, who spent 12 years as Scotland manager between 2005 and 2017, guiding the team to their maiden major tournament at the 2017 European Championships.

The 61-year-old played and coached in the Damallsvenskan in her native Sweden for an assortment of sides for over 20 years – including two player-coach roles – before moving in to national team management in 1996, first with the Sweden youth sides and then with Scotland. She has been in charge of Finland since 2017, and her contract with the national team comes to an end this year.

At the first official Women’s European Championships in 1984, matches comprised of two 35 minute halves. Had this law still been in place for Euro 2022 qualification, Finland would have scored 10 fewer goals and accumulated five fewer points.

Spain vs Finland

Date & time: Friday 8 July, 17:00 (BST)
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
How to watch on TV: BBC Two (UK)

Denmark vs Finland

Date & time: Tuesday 12 July, 17:00 (BST)
Venue: Stadium MK
How to watch on TV: BBC Two (UK)

Finland vs Germany

Date & time: Saturday 16 July, 20:00 (BST)
Venue: Stadium MK
How to watch on TV: BBC Two (UK)

Finland will face an opponent from Group A should they qualify for the knockout stages – likely Norway or England.

Top the group of death and progress past the quarter finals, and the winner of Group D or the runner up from Group C will wait in the semis – likely France, Sweden or the Netherlands. Finish second in the group and reach the semi finals, and the Group C winner will be their most likely opponent – again, presumably Sweden or the Netherlands.

Goalkeepers: Katrina Talaslahti (Fleury 91), Anna Tamminen (Hammarby), Tinja-Riikka Korpela (Tottenham Hotspur).

Defenders: Defenders: Elli Pikkujamsa (KIF Orebro), Tuija Hyyrynen (Juventus), Emma Koivisto (Free agent), Anna Auvinen, (Sampdoria), Nora Heroum (Lazio), Natalia Kuikka (Portland Thorns), Anna Westerlund (Aland United).

Midfielders: Ria Oling (Rosengard), Olga Ahtinen (Linköping), Emmi Alanen (Kristiandstad), Essi Sainio (HJK) Evelina Summanen (Tottenham Hotspur).

Forwards: Adelina Engman (Hammarby), Sanni Franssi (Real Sociedad), Juliette Kemppi (IFK Kalmar), Amanda Rantanen (KIF Orebro), Jutta Rantala (Vittsjö GIK), Jenny Danielsson (Al), Heidi Kollanen (KIF Orebro), Linda Sallstrom (Vittsjo GIK).

Finland have been handed the nastiest draw of them all with Spain, Germany and Denmark all propping up their group.

In any other group, progressing to the quarter finals would be an attainable target for Finland, but it seems too big of an ask given the sheer quality of sides that they will come up against.

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