In this special episode ahead of the 2022 Women’s Euros beginning this week in England, Rich spoke with author Johanna Ruohonen about her new book Naisten Laji, the origins of women’s football in Finland and Europe and how things have changed – and where inequality still remains. Finland play their three group games in Milton Keynes, where Rich and Keke will be supporting the Helmarit in the matches against Spain, Denmark and Germany.
Johanna describes how the book came about, speaking with female players past and present, hopes for the future and how the Helmarit and Kansallinen Liiga can provide positive role models for the next generation of women’s footballers and coaches in Finland.
In this episode, Keke, Rich and Mark W are joined by Huuhkajat star, Robert Ivanov. A Finland international player who has recently cemented himself into the Huuhkajat starting 11, was a member of the Euro 2020 squad and who looks certain will be commanding the Finnish defence for years to come.
Roba tells us how it felt to grow up and progress through the Finnish league system, from an 18-year-old ‘bambi’ at PK-35 to FC Myllypuro to FC Vikingit ‘to play with my friends’ and into the Veikkausliiga with FC Honka. He talks about his dream of playing for Arsenal and his move to Warta Poznan, in Poland, and explains that his transfer may not have been quite as expensive as Keke thought!
Finally, Robert talks about his international career, the joy of being selected in the Euro 2020 squad and the ‘changing of teh guard’ in the Finland defence since the Euros.
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 2022 Tournoi de France will be the third edition of the tournament, it is an invitational women’s football tournament held annually in France and this year takes place from 16th to 22nd February. Joining Finland and hosts France this year are Brazil and the Netherlands. Rich and Keke look forward to the action, discuss the form of the Helmarit and consider the threat of their opponents! 😨 Continue reading Competition Preview: The Helmarit at Le Tournoi de France 2022
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.
Playing away against the old enemy is never easy, but when your closest rival is also ranked number 2 in the world, you know you’re in for a battle. That is what Finland faced but they also made sure they went down fighting against Sweden; standing toe-to-toe and attempting to play their own game. The other result in the group, Ireland 1-1 Slovakia, leaves the standings wide open at the halfway stage.
Back on home soil, the Helmarit struggled to break down a resolute Ireland side that got players behind the ball to defend, while making the most of counter-attacking on the break. A fine goal-of-the-match from Adelina Engman, was not enough against a good direct free kick and a close-range header for Ireland. Mark W, Keke and Rich got together for a chat straight after the game. Continue reading Match Report: Finland 1-2 Ireland, Women’s World Cup Qualifier
In this episode, Keke and Mark W are joined by another Helmarit star and yet another Finnish goalkeeper! Tinja-Riikka Korpela who is a legend of the women’s game; a serial winner who won two Bundesliga titles and three Finnish championships. As well as making 90+ appearances for the Helmarit – the women’s Finland national team – and playing a large part in getting the Helmarit into Euro 2022.