Euro 2020 will be Finland's debut at a major international tournament. Their players have already written themselves into folklore, so here are five that could really catch the eye this summer.
Lukáš Hrádecký (goalkeeper)
Lukáš Hrádecký was right at the heart of Finland's qualification for Euro 2020. After representing his country at all youth levels, last year saw Hrádecký’s 10-year anniversary in Finland’s senior set up and he is arguably the best goalkeeper that they have ever seen. He was given a chance to prove that when Manchester United offered him a week’s trial after the departure of now-returning Tom Heaton.
Hrádecký, though, turned it down and chose to battle for the number one jersey at five-time Danish champions Esbjerg instead. That, however, didn’t go to plan and the ‘keeper ended up moving to Brøndby on a free transfer the following summer. After three years, Hrádecký spent the same amount of time at Eintracht Frankfurt before earning his big move to Bayer Leverkusen in 2018. At 31, he probably has one big move left in him. Can Euro 2020 be the platform he needs?
Jere Uronen (defender)
Jere Uronen is a stalwart for Belgian Pro League side Genk and enjoyed an impressive 2020/21, winning the Belgian Cup. Born in Turku, Finland, he began his senior club career at Turun Palloseura, before signing with Helsingborgs IF in 2012, aged just 17, and has now played over 125 times for Genk.
Uronen made his international debut shortly after his move to Helsingborgs and has since made over 40 caps, including appearing in the qualifications rounds for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. A regular member of the squads that qualified for Euro 2020, Uronen is expected to lead his countrymen by example this summer.
Fredrik Jensen (midfielder)
Hans Fredrik Jensen is one of Finland’s future leaders. Despite being only 23-years-old, he has become an integral part of the international set up after making his debut as a teenager in 2017. That came in the middle of his two-season spell at FC Twente, in which he found the net nine times in 55 matches before moving to Augsburg to aid his development in the Bundesliga in 2018.
His international debut was one to remember as he scored the equalising goal in a 1-1 draw with Austria at just 19 years of age and his goalscoring record is nothing short of remarkable with seven goals to his name after only 16 caps. He’ll be overrun by the big countries in midfield no doubt, but he will come of age against Denmark and Russia.
Glen Kamara (midfielder)
Glen Kamara’s season has sadly been overshadowed by the disgusting racial abuse he received against Slavia Praha in the Europa League, but we cannot forget his quality. He helped Rangers not only turn the tide on Celtic, but race 25 points clear of their Old Firm rivals to reclaim their throne.
Like a lot of Finnish players, he is a true workhorse who battles for his comrades – often sacrificing himself for the team – but also has quality in the final third. With only two seasons across two years at Rangers, goalscoring isn’t his best attribute but his presence and awareness when he gets in and around the box is invaluable. Finns everywhere will be praying that he continues his form.
Teemu Pukki (forward)
Teemu Pukki. Norwich City‘s number nine. Remember when he was top scorer for the first couple of months in the 2019/20 Premier League season? He’s a natural goalscorer who can link up with a strike partner or hold it up and bring others into play despite his relatively small frame.
Having fired Finland to Euro 2020, he led Norwich back to the Premier League with a second Championship title in three seasons and has been electric ever since he arrived in East Anglia. It will be a tall order against some of the world’s best goalkeepers in Thibaut Courtios and Kasper Schmeichel, but when he gets a chance, he often takes it.