Sunday, July 27, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 21 - MYPA get their sexy back

All twelve teams in action, and a couple of games with plenty of goals. Are HJK's eyes on Europe too much? Their lead is down to seven points, ahead of their Champions League tie with APOEL in midweek. MYPA meanwhile put five past KuPS, recovering from their Europa League exit.


Saturday

Jaro 0-1 SJK
Inter 3-3 HJK


Highlights of Saturday's games

Sunday

VPS 1-2 IFK Mariehamn
Honka 1-1 TPS
MYPA 5-3 KuPS
RoPS 0-1 Lahti

Highlights of Sunday's games

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eero Markkanen - Real Madrid's new Galáctico

Watching young Finnish footballers develop abroad, with various degrees of success, has become a national pastime for Suomi. Litmanen, Forssell and Tainio have all gone abroad with varying degrees of success before returning home. Now it is time for a true giant. At 197cm tall and weighing nearly 100kg, twenty-three year old striker Eero Markkanen has taken a huge step towards stardom.

Eero Markkanen, July 2014

So with the latest batch of young Finns plying their trade in Europe (Teemu Pukki, Joel Pohjanpalo, Tim Väyrynen), another has spread his Eagle-Owl wings. Markkanen had already left Finnish shores to make the short journey to AIK of Stockholm, but his performances in the Swedish capital have earned him a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, bringing the opportunity of a lifetime. Eero joins Real's development side Castilla, who play in the Spanish Segunda División B - and will be coached by one Zinedine Zidane.

Part of elite European football these days sees the big clubs hoover up young talent from all over the world and retain them via loans or partner/feeder clubs. To avoid being known as a one-time prospect, Eero will certainly be up against top competition for a shot in the senior squad - thankfully he has lofty ambitions and high standards to match his physique.

Eero for JJK in 2013

In an interview with Maalipotku blog in 2013, Markkanen said he watched Thierry Henry and (Brazilian) Ronaldo when growing up, although his large frame has seen several comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But on the differences between himself as a gentle giant and the Swede, he said "you have to be mean". Eero rose through the ranks of JJK Jyväskylä, announcing himself on the scene in July 2012 with a perfect hat-trick (right foot, header, left foot) in the league match against IFK Mariehamn. He spent the end of 2013 on loan at HJK while his parent club struggled financially, and were ultimately relegated.

Some of Eero's goals have already become YouTube sensations, with his goal for AIK against Djurgårdens in April a particularly fine effort. See the clip below.

Eero's goal for AIK v Djurgårdens

Eero made his full Finland debut in May 2014, coming on as a second half substitute in a 1-0 Baltic Cup defeat to Lithuania, but certainly impressed boss Mixu Paatelainen - and provides a different option for the squad ahead of the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

A strong, powerful striker unlike anything that Finland have produced in recent years. With the right coaching, Markkanen could genuinely become a world class forward. At just 23 years old, he has a long career ahead of him and where better to grow? If he impresses under Zizou, the pressure will be enormous, following in the footsteps of di Stefano, Hugo Sanchez, Raul and both Ronaldos.

Can Eero be the Hero? He has the strength. We'll have to wait and see if he gets the chance.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 20 - Jaro spank Kuqi

One game on Saturday (HJK v SJK) and the rest on Sunday. Most of the headlines were taken by Shefki Kuqi and Irakli Sirbiladze. Honka coach Kuqi was sent to the stands again for swearing at the ref, while Sirbiladze was sent off for also swearing, this time at KuPS fans (although he was also reported to swear at the referee). Meanwhile HJK were gifted a penalty, and RoPS won despite making eight changes.


Saturday

HJK 2-0 SJK

Highlights of Saturday's match


Sunday

TPS 0-0 VPS
Honka 0-5 Jaro
KuPS 4-2 Inter
Lahti 3-0 MYPA
IFK Mariehamn 2-4 RoPS


Highlights of Sunday's games

Monday, July 14, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 19 - RoPS shoot down TPS

Split over three days, here are the highlights of the latest fixtures.



Saturday

SJK 0-0 KuPS
RoPS 3-0 TPS


Sunday

MYPA 3-0 IFK Mariehamn
VPS 3-1 Honka


Monday

Inter 0-1 Lahti


See you next week!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 18 - HJK stumble at KuPS

Sunday's Veikkausliiga action:



Honka coach Shefki Kuqi moaning again

Honka 0-2 RoPS
IFK Mariehamn 3-1 Inter Turku
KuPS 2-2 HJK
Jaro 1-2 VPS

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Veikkausliiga week 17 - SJK in seventh heaven

Busy at the mo, World Cup, meeting Finland players for coffee, getting promoted at work... Sorry for the lack of updates. Anyway, Wednesday saw four Veikkausliiga matches (it's a European matchweek), here are the highlights. SJK won their seventh league match in a row and there was a Turku derby.



 Highlights of Wednesday's games