A message for Juha’s Dad: you didn’t miss much (Finland 2 Austria 1 Finland, won 4-2 on penalties)

The Salminen household might not be that harmonious tomorrow. Juha’s Dad was at the game, until the 75th minute, when Juha’s sister had to go to dancing practice. Having not seen much to indicate it would be worthwhile staying, Salminen senior headed off to do his fatherly duty. Five minutes later, and Jussi Vasara made a game of it. 10 minutes after that…..

I’ll stop before this gets too cruel. What a game though! Finland were rubbish until the last 15 minutes, lacking composure, passing, pace and finishing, at various points. Austria looked comfortable (or arrogant, as Job Dragtsma said afterwards), and were happy winning their silly little freekicks with silly little dives around the halfway line. Stankovic was incensed just before the equaliser, when his dive failed to get its expected reward. Serves him right.

Kanerva came into the press conference brandishing a sign that had been hung in the dressing room reading ‘the sky is the limit if your heart is in it’. Corny as hell, cod psychology, but after a game like that he can print off t-shirts bearing the slogan. Sparv and Turunen were the calm heads Finland needed, Joni Aho grew into his role, and Vasara was explosive when he came on. I suppose I should comment approvingly that some of the best players were from the top two teams in Veikkausliiga, but the best thing was the support.

It sounded like the Inter fans were sitting in our side when Furuholm came on. FU-RU-HOLM! FU-RU-HOLM! FU-RU-HOLM! was coming from behind us. When we turned round, it became obvious that this was actually the Inter squad, with Gulliano Grot in particular getting into the ‘Suomi’ chant. Furuholm responded, and came over to celebrate at the end, punching the air and pointing at his team-mates. That’s team spirit, that is.

Lots of talk about ‘heart’ after the game from Kanerva and Vasara, and interesting that Vasara wasn’t actually supposed to come on so early, but when Mehmet Hetemaj got injured it became necessary. Masterful management, and brilliant self control from Vasara to stick to the game plan and wait till the last ten minutes before beginning the comeback.

Austrians are nothing like Germans when it comes to penalties, btw. They were awful.

Great chant from SMJK, too: ‘Conquering Sweden with a great pumpkinhead’, referencing Kanerva’s nickname there. I’m off to get drunk now.

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2 Responses

  1. Well, I’m not sure has our family harmony distorted more from that it has been… I must correct one mistake in the text. I’m not that bad father that I would take my nine year old daughter to dance training at nine o’clock in the evening. I was going to play football myself…. That’s Football in Finland!

    Actually I was playing football with other oldies at Kupittaa 5 only 50 meters away the Veritas stadium. I could see the lights and hear well the crowd from the stands. It created atmosphere to our playing as well. It was almost perfect, evening was warm, no wind, full moon shining, feeling lights and audience from Veritas spuring us too and some tvelwe or thirteen old men playing the ball with good humour…. This is also Football in Finland!

    What comes to U21 game: when I left around 75 min, Austria controlled the game (as almost most of the time) and it looked like that Finland has no chance to make two goals. Only player on Finnish side that could really challenge Austrians was Jussi Vasara and in a way it was no surprise to me to hear from the radio on my way to home and back to Kupittaa that it was him who scored. He was in flames starting from the very first moment he came in at 45′.

    Good end result for Finland!

    Dad Salminen

  2. Apologies for the aspersions cast on your parenting skills. I hope your domestic harmony survives an Inter title, if indeed it arrives….

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