With their national side having never quite shown the results they’d like to see the Ice Hockey made Finns tend to turn to the EPL for their football fix
The Finns do like football. No really, they do. Admittedly not as much as they like the swish of puck on ice but still, they’ve a love of the game every bit as great as that of other European countries. The Finnish Football Association boasts a Premier Division and several divisions below that with teams in every major city and town and Finns themselves noting it as one of their hobbies in greater numbers year on year. Of course no one expects it to overtake Ice Hockey in terms of national obsession, but don’t dismiss the footballing Finns.
The Finns; Footballs Fighters
• Finland has never qualified for a World Cup finals
• Euro 2016 qualification started well
• ComeOn! Sportsbook allows Finns to wager on EPL
It was, perhaps somewhat predictably, English sailors who first introduced Football to the Finns back in the 1890s, and like everyone else they took to it almost instantly with the first games played in Turku and a national competition created in 1906 which was swiftly followed by the setting up of the Football Association Of Finland that joined FIFA in 1908. Since these quite humble beginnings (a school team won that first national competition) Finnish football has enjoyed a somewhat checkered time of it.
The national side first entered the World Cup competition in 1938 as all the teams struggled to find their way into the finals in France, but unfortunately their three straight losses during qualification saw their hopes not so much dashed as destroyed. In 1950 on the road to Rio the team actually withdrew during qualifying and alas, since then the Finns have rather lamentably failed to qualify each and every time the world cup rolls round. But they don’t give up.
Their best result was perhaps in the heady days of 1986 when the aim of the game was to appear under the Mexico sun, with them winning and losing an equal number of games (three apiece) and drawing their other two matches. Sadly this wasn’t enough to see them go through and to this day a Finnish team has not graced the finals of a World Cup, but with 2018 not as far away as you might think and the controversial 2022 Qatar debacle on the horizon all that might well be about to change.
Footballing Finns Fail Fabulously
Their qualification for the UEFA Euro 2016 competition, perhaps the most fiercely fought regional cup competitions in the world, got off to a good enough start against the somewhat lowly Faroe Islands with the match back in September of last year ending in a 3-1 win for the Finns, and that seemed to bode well as the team managed a draw against the far more capable Greek team in Helsinki a month later Hurme equalizing in the 55th minute and the rest of the team clinging onto it for dear life.
Unfortunately since then the Romanian’s battered them 2-0 and the Hungarians put one by them to stroll off with the only goal of the game in Budapest back in November. This leaves them fourth in their group and a long way behind the table topping Romanians or their closest pursuers Northern Ireland who sit a comfortable couple of points above Hungary. They can still make it, but with the Irish their next game in Belfast and no Finnish team ever having reached the Euro finals before the writing does appear very much on the wall.
209 national sides are eligible to enter the 2018 World Cup and Finland is certain to be amongst them possibly gambling news of Myanmar’s successful appeal against a ban for crowd trouble in 2014 will not impinge upon their progress towards those finals in Russia. We’ll have to wait until the qualifying draw is made in July over in St. Petersburg to know how much of a challenge the Finns face this time but one thing is for sure, they’ll not be intimidated by it.
If there is one thing that Finnish Football doesn’t lack it’s heart. You’ll often hear managers of clubs that have held on to a game against stronger opponents describe their side as having shown some of it, but Finland as a nation shows massive quantities of it just by turning up to play. Especially if faced with teams from it’s neighbors and rivals the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians who have all enjoyed far greater success in Football.
Finnish Fans Of The EPL
Perhaps it’s the weather that makes them so indefatigable in the face of such insurmountable odds, with their chances of even appearing at the finals quite remote their chances of winning are actually slightly less than that of the entire planet being invaded and enslaved by aliens from another galaxy. Of course that doesn’t stop football fans in Finland taking a good deal of interest in some of the richer football leagues around Europe with fans of clubs in Germany or the UK evident most Saturdays.
This means that this weekend there will be quite a few Finns with an eye on the gathering pace of the English Premier League often cited as being the pinnacle of club competitions anywhere in the world. Those that like internet betting in Finland will almost certainly be paying attention because this Saturday there are some superb opportunities thrown up by the fixture calendar and ComeOn! Sportsbook makes it easy to put your money where your instincts lie.
Finnish gambling laws might be a bit tired but Southampton hasn’t shown any signs of their rise through the table running out of steam with them off to face Newcastle favored to beat the geordies at 2.10 to the Magpies’ 3.70 and a draw at 3.40 which seems unlikely given these two have been going great guns in their last few games. Of course if you want a tighter game to put your money on there’s Stoke City vs Leicester where the latter sit at 2.65 and their opponents on 2.90.
Perhaps the easiest game to predict is Tottenham vs Sunderland with ComeOn! Sportsbook giving them a 1.60 to 6.05 advantage on their opponents from the north. Tottenham’s defeat to Southampton last week mean Spurs will be doing all it can to get back into its stride and you can expect them to come out all guns blazing. Just like you can the Finns when they take to the field to attempt qualification in the next World Cup, because Finland loves football enough to lose with panache.