Finland Euro 2020: Team News, Odds & Predictions

Finland Euro 2020: Team News, Odds & Predictions

Finland will make their debut at a major tournament this summer, with the Nordic country having been drawn in Group B, along with Belgium, Denmark and neighbours Russia. Coming into the tournament at 54 in the FIFA world rankings, it is safe to say that little is expected of Finland this summer. However, having qualified for the finals convinsingly and with a natural goalscorer in Teemu Pukki in their ranks, could Finland follow in the footsteps of Iceland? We will help answer this question by looking at their history, key players and betting odds.

Finland History

Finland’s football history is very much up and down. Alongside the Faroe Islands, they remain the only Nordic country never to have played at the World Cup. Meanwhile, as we have already mentioned, Euro 2020 will be their debut at a major tournament. Finland first started to show signs of improvement in the early 2000’s. However, by 2017, they had slipped to 110th in the world rankings, an all-time low. Matches during Euro 2020 and 2022 World Cup qualifying has seen them quickly climb the ladder again. Finland has produced some top players in the past, most notably Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypiä.

How Finland Qualified for Euro 2020

Finland’s qualification for Euro 2020 is made all the more impressive when you look at which teams they came up against. Finland was drawn in Group J, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia and Liechtenstein, as well as former European champions Italy and Greece. While Finland did lose four of their 10 matches, six wins helped them to a runner-up spot. Goalscoring was an issue, with Finland having only scored 16 goals during their campaign, 10 of which came from Norwich City’s Pukki. However, the Fins still finished four points clear of Greece in third.

Finland in Group B

Despite having been drawn against Belgium, who many fancy to win Euro 2020 outright, Finland will be fairly happy with their Group B opponents. They will kick off their campaign in Copenhagen against Denmark, with the duo having not met since back in 2011. Meanwhile, an encounter with an underwhelming Russian team provides another opportunity to pick up points. While reaching the knockout stage this summer is perhaps beyond Finland, it would not come as a shock if they put in some decent performances. The following is how their Group B fixtures have been scheduled:

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Finland Euro 2020: Odds & Predictions

Even the biggest Finland fans will be anticipating that their team has a chance of winning Euro 2020. As such, bookmakers have priced the team accordingly when it comes to outright markets. The following pre-tournament odds are available on Finland winning the tournament, which would be a bigger shock than Greece’s success in 2004.

Bet365 500/1
Tonybet 500/1
888Sport 350/1
SportNation 400/1
Betfair 250/1
NetBet 400/1
William Hill 250/1
Ladbrokes 250/1

Elsewhere, despite having averaged a goal per game during qualifying, Teemu Pukki is 125/1 with Bet365 to win the Golden Boot award this summer. Finland are 7/1 with Unibet to beat Denmark in their opening match, however odds of 9/2 from Betfair for Finland to beat Russia look more appealing. Given the unpredictable nature of the debutants, live markets could well be worth taking advantage of.

The Manager

57-year-old Markku Kanerva is Finland’s head coach, having been in the role since 2016. The former Finland assistant coach and Under-21 boss took over as caretaker boss in 2015, before being appointed on a permanent basis the following year. Kanerva will go into the history books as the first coach to lead Finland to a major tournament. Kanerva spent his entire playing career in Finland, before managing FC Viikingit in 2003. He has been in the national team setup since 2004, with his knowledge of the players having clearly been of great benefit.

Standout Players

The Finnish squad is packed full of experience. Captain Tim Sparv, Teemu Pukki, Paulus Arajuuri and goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký all have over 50 international caps to their name. While there are no world class players to speak of, however the likes of Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, Augsburg’s Fredrik Jensen and Union Berlin’s Joel Pohjanpalo are worth keeping an eye on. Rasmus Schüller will be making his 50th appearance for Finland during Euro 2020 this summer.

Finland’s Strengths & Weaknesses

Finland are betting going forward than they are defensively. The team has conceded 10 goals in their last five matches in all competitions, scoring 8 times in the process. Pukki is a constant threat in attack, having scored 26 goals in the English Championship this season. However, Finland are a little reliant on the veteran striker, with those in midfield needing to contribute on a more regular basis. The Finnish squad is also a little light on experience at the highest level, with the majority of players not playing in top European leagues.

Our Prediction for Finland at Euro 2020

Unfortunately, we see Finland coming unstuck against all three of their Group B opponents, with Russia potentially being the only exception. As a result, we would not recommend betting on Russia reaching the Round of 16, even at attractive odds of 5/2 from William Hill. Betting on Finland conceding over 5.5 goals during the group stage is likely to attract many punters, with odds of 17/20 being found at Unibet.

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