Finland hopes to be a dark horse at Euros: Iceland can do it and so can we
This is the first time Finland is playing in the final week of the Euros, but last Saturday they beat Denmark in the first round of Group B matches. Captain Sparf said earlier that he hopes to follow the example of previous Iceland and achieve the Nordic myth.
"We rarely won before and were often criticized, now it's completely different and it's nice to make the whole country feel excited." Sparf said, "Our goal is to get the nation to raise interest in soccer, and now you can see hundreds of people in the streets wearing jerseys, and I've even seen people tattooing pictures of Pukki onto their bodies."
The last Euros saw two dark horses, Wales and Iceland, and Sparf acknowledged that Iceland, also from northern Europe, inspired them: "I salute them that a small country can achieve so much. five years on, there are still people talking about it. They made everyone believe: if Iceland can do it, so can we. That's their legend."
The last game against Denmark was a blowout win for Finland in an uneasy atmosphere with the Danish midfielder fainting. Despite Finland's historic run to the Euro finals, Sparf says the current squad is still not as good as the golden generation that had Litmanen and Hyypia: "They had 10 players playing in the Premier League, we only have Pukki now."