Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFinland building for Euro 2016 (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Finland building for Euro 2016 (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Finland building for Euro 2016 (video)

The Finnish national team achieved one of the greatest results in their history on Friday night, earning a 1-1 draw with World and European champions Spain in Gijon.

Spain unsurprisingly dominated the game against the Finnish, both in terms of possession and chances but could not find the killer second goal after Sergio Ramos had headed the hosts in front at the beginning of the second half. In a rare foray into the opponent’s half, Finland countered in slick fashion in the 79th minute and poked home a leveller courtesy of Schalke striker Teemu Pukki.

The Spaniards threw the kitchen sink against a robust Finnish defence in the last 10 minutes however were unable to penetrate through their opponent’s firm back-line and Finnish goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa particularly impressed with his efforts to repel the Spanish attack.

Finland have produced such talents as Jari Litmanen, Sami Hyppia and Mikael Forssell however have never qualified for a major tournament and are very unlikely to be on the plane for the World Cup in Brazil next year. In spite of the impressive result against Spain on Friday, Finland sit bottom of World Cup Qualifying Group I behind France, Spain, Georgia and Belarus.

Former international striker Mixu Paatelainen, who won the Scottish Premier League Manager of the Year Award after his impressive stewardship of Kilmarnock, was appointed as Head Coach of the Finland National Team in March 2011, after two successive Englishmen – Stuart Baxter and current England Boss Roy Hodgson had led the Fins.

Paatelainen was hired by the Finnish FA with the mandate to qualify the national team for the 2016 European Championships in France. Finland are one of several countries in Europe aiming to take advantage of the altered format of the European Championships which sees the tournament expanded from 16 teams to 24 in 2016, meaning that there will be an extra 8 places up for grabs.

Although Finland currently find themselves in 87th position in the Fifa World Rankings, behind 37 other European sides, Mixu Paatelainen will hope that Friday’s result against the World Champions will give his team the belief that they can mix it with the big boys once more come Euro 2016.