5 things to know about Finland, last opponent of the Blues in 2021

If France has already qualified for the 2022 World Cup, this is not the case for Finland, which is playing big this Tuesday in Helsinki (8:45 p.m.) at the end of the qualifiers.

The nickname « Eagle Owls »

In France, the nickname of the Blues goes without saying. But why are the Finnish players nicknamed the “Huuhkajat”, the Eagle Owls? The story is recent: it takes place on June 6, 2007. Finland is playing a crucial match in the qualifiers for Euro 2008. It receives Belgium in Helsinki, but the match is interrupted after 19 minutes of play. A large owl -duc has landed on the lawn. A player tries to scare him away and the owl flies away … to land on the bar of the Belgian cage. The interruption will last almost 7 minutes before the owl disappears. Almost on the resumption of play, Finland opened the scoring and ended up winning 2-0. The whole of the Finnish people will make of this owl, himself nicknamed « Bubu », a hero. The Urban Journalists Association will go as far as electing him Citizen of the Year 2007. A year dear to the hearts of Finnish supporters.

Finland plays its World Cup hopes

With 11 points in 7 matches, Finland is provisionally second in group D of these qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. In case of victory against the Blues, it will validate this place and will thus be qualified for the play-offs, like Portugal and Italy, among others. If it loses and at the same time Ukraine wins in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ukrainians will get the famous dam ticket. Another plausible scenario: Ukraine wins 1-0 and Finland concedes a draw 0-0. The two nations would be equal on points, goal difference, goals scored and goals conceded! They would then be separated by their direct confrontations, and Ukraine would have the advantage. In short, Finland must win, or settle for a draw by scoring more goals than Ukraine. France is warned.

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Uronen, Finnish and Brestois

Out of more than 500 Ligue 1 footballers, he is the only Finn. Left side Jere Uronen (27) also proudly wears the colors of Huuhkajat and Stade Brestois, where he has held since his arrival this summer. It is a frame of this selection, with its 54 capes. Other players to watch? We can cite goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, the last bulwark of Bayer Leverkusen. There is also Glasgow Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara in sight at the last Euro. And the inevitable Teemu Pukki (98 caps, 33 goals), Norwich center forward and top scorer in Finnish history ahead of the illustrious Jari Litmanen (32 goals).

France does not succeed

In 10 matches, Finland lost nine times to the Blues. The two countries crossed paths during the qualifiers for four World Cups: 1962, 1994, 2014 and therefore 2022. Only once, France stumbled, and it was last year, November 11, 2020, in a friendly match at the Stade de France. « Finland fully deserves its victory“, Recognized Didier Deschamps after the defeat of his men (0-2). A match without much learning, useless in view of an already overloaded schedule, and where holders were missing on both sides.

Euro 2020, historic for Finland

Before the European Championship last summer, Finland had never played the final phase of a major competition. It therefore acts as the winner of the enlargement of the Euro to 24 teams instead of 16 since the edition in France, in 2016. It could also benefit from it on a planetary scale, with the passage from 32 to 48 nations in the World Cup from 2026. But perhaps she will not wait so long to taste the excitement of a World Cup, with that in Qatar next year in the viewfinder.

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