Nations League. Helsinki, Bucharest, Zenica – 4-14th June 2022
The domestic football season in Finland now pauses for three weeks, as the men’s national team, the Huuhkajat takes centre stage. The third edition of the Nations League is about to start, with a breath-taking schedule of four games in ten days.
The FFS team was at full-strength again for this episode, which is handy as Mark W, Rich, Keke & Mark H had a very full agenda to get through – and that was before Keke invented the new ‘extra time’ segment 🤦🏻♂️
Once again, we have a broad update from across various aspects of football, Finland-style: we start with a Veikkausliiga update and further discussion of SJK Seinäjoki’s woes. We look a few weeks ahead to the four upcoming Nations League games and herald the Finn who’s participating in the Champions League Final.
There’s also a Suomen Cup update, pausing to laugh at Ilves losing to their reserves and to celebrate the smaller sides still in the fifth round. And we finish up by looking at the achievements of the Finns overseas, many successes and just a few disappointments.
A ‘Finnish Football Show Lite‘ episode, as Rich and Keke get together to look back at Keke’s trip to Murcia for the Huuhkajat training camp, which included a seat in the press box for the two practice games against Iceland and Slovakia. They also look forward to the Helmarit World Cup qualifiers, against Slovakia and Georgia.
They wrap up by looking at the first weekend of Veikkausliiga action, which included the first managerial casualty of the season, and venue confusion, as some stadiums are not yet ready to be used – because of the incessant SNOW!! 🤬
We have a full team for this episode, which is just as well, as we also have a full agenda. We start by lauding Honka for winning the first trophy of the 2022 season, before looking forward to Keke’s trip to Murcia to watch the Huuhkajat take on Iceland & Slovakia.
We also discuss the Palloliitto’s innovative marketing for the upcoming Helmarit match vs. Georgia and salute the new contract given to Finland manager Markku Kanerva. Finally, we look at recent events in the Suomen Cup.
In this episode, Keke, Mark H and Mark W are joined by another Huuhkajat star, Rasmus Schüller, who has over 50 Finland caps to his name. A serial winner, who has five Veikkausliiga titles, including three League & Cup doubles 🙌🏼 Rasmus is tough tackling, smooth passing, no nonsense, central midfielder currently with Djurgårdens IF in Stockholm.
Rade tells us how it felt to start in the Veikkausliiga, for Honka at the age of 18, the challenge of making the step-up to HJK Helsinki, his MLS adventure in Minnesota. He also shares some VERY interesting insights into the ill-fated Hans Backe era of the Finland national team and why Markku Kanerva has enjoyed such success in the Nations League and Euro 2020.
For our final show of 2021, we decided to broadcast it as a Facebook Live video and publish the results as a series of podcasts over the Christmas holiday. This was recorded on Monday 20.12.2021.
We discussed the news that Tim Sparv has retired, the confirmed Nations League fixtures for the Huuhkajat, considered who should be our ‘Finnish Player of the Year’ and launched our 2022 merchandise range.
We were joined by Boris Wistuba-Marino (Kitman at HJK Helsinki) and by FFS fan Erno who ‘knows Keke really well’ – whatever that means!