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Aapo Virtanen: Don’t Look Back In Anger

Started on 6 November 2018 by Jack
Latest Reply on 5 September 2019 by Justice
14 shots all tournament, very defensive? Are you Jose in disguise?

Good to see further qualification! No real surprises in the rest of the round and the US will be a tough test especially with the support they will have on their side.

Another one of this year’s World Cup hosts have been knocked out as Finland defeated the U.S.A 1-0 with help from a third-minute red card.

Barely into the first attack of the game, the Americans were dealt a blow to their chances very early on as Emerson Hyndman - the 30-year-old Basel midfielder - was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Finland’s Kaan Kairinen whilst on the first counter attack of the game. This decision led to America’s star winger Jack Harrison being brought off in the same minute to sure up the center.

Finland became much more composed with the extra man and the freedom of the flanks which allowed Tariq Kazi and Jere Uronen to bomb on from their wing-back positions, with Glen Kamara, Huhtamaki and Kairinen solidifying the middle.

However, it was another one of Finland’s specialties under Virtanen that earnt their side the opening goal in the 41st minute. Jere Uronen was able to swing in a free-kick 35 yards from goal on the right-hand side. Who else but Joel Pohjanpalo was there to finish off a perfect cross from the wing-back?

The goal marked Pohjanpalo’s 37th international goal for his home country after 99 caps. He celebrated by running over to a Finnish family in the front row of seats at the Mile High Stadium.

As the game went on, Finland became increasingly regressive in their play style. This was seen in the previous fixture against Uruguay in the Third Round 1-0 win. Even with a man less, the Americans were able to dominate possession with 61% of the ball as the full-time whistle went.

A triple substitution in the 84th minute by Aapo Virtanen replaced a centre-back, midfielder and pulled the original two strikers into leaving only Joel Pohjanpalo up-front for the remaining six minutes.

Just like the Uruguay fixture, Finland were able to frustrate their opponent’s this time by dragging bodies behind the ball and divert any American surges towards goal out wide, where manager Tim Howard didn’t put any of his players due to the Hyndman dismissal.

This means that Finland now secure a World Cup Semi-Final spot. They will play France at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. France were the side that finally got the better of Finland in the European Championships in the last major international tournament. They defeated Finland 2-1 with a late Antoine Griezmann winner. Virtanen will be looking to enact this squad’s revenge against those who stole earlier glory away from them with qualification into the Final.

Some have said that Finland had the World Cup campaign far too easy as they have only played against Mexico, Ecuador, Romania, Uruguay and now the U.S.A. Their Semi-Final opponents, France, had to play the reigning world champions Spain to reach this point in the tournament.

It took France a penalty shootout to go through to the Semi-Finals as the game finished 1-1 after extra-time before winning 4-2 on penalties.

Another shock nation in the Semi-Final stage is Denmark who also won on penalties in their Quarter-Final fixture against England. Niels Frederiksen’s side won 5-3 in the shootout - which England have been notoriously poor at in the past. Boasting the likes of Andreas Christensen and Yussuf Poulsen, they will face Holland in the Semi-Finals who had to take their Quarter-Final tie to extra-time as a 99th minute Donny van de Beek penalty sent them into the Semi-Finals over their Brazilian opponents.

All of this means that we could have two nations that do not have a World Cup title between them in Finland, Denmark and Holland competing for their country’s first ever title in the World Cup Final. However, it is both France and Holland that remain the favourites to go through to the Final, with France the favourites to win as they have two World Cup titles behind them.

Scott: It's very much a smash-and-grab style of play that I seem to have perfected so far. I don't mind sitting on the edge of my seat as my opponents bombard my side as I know all of these games are going to be tough.

Justice: Thank god there was no Suarez's running around! Pohjanpalo certainly did have his goalscoring boots on for this one, too. Huge performance from him.

TheLFCFan: I have to rely on a clinical striker in Pohjanpalo for the system to work, that's for sure. They packed out the ground as most World Cup fans do, but we dragged our way through it with the added benefit of having an extra man!
Congratulations on yet another victory that seals your progression into the next round. The smash and grab style continues to work to great effect. France will be a tricky test and have the quality to really unlock the defence given the opportunity, so I'm intrigued to see if Finland persists with this style and whether it can work as effectively as it has in recent games.

A certain member of FM Scout will be loving Denmark's run and another will be pleased with the Netherlands, too! :P
Another shithousery performance, well done on achieving progression though! France will be an incredibly tough challenge, but the game offers you a chance at earning revenge for the past fixture. Do it. Beat them.
Congrats on once again taking Finland further than anyone had expected in getting to the semis. It is certainly time for revenge against France!
Getting Finland into the semis is an incredible achievement, well done mate. Just shows how much impact you have had on Finnish football

It’s a huge welcome from all the way in East Rutherford, New Jersey as we are almost at the beginning of the first of the two World Cup Semi-Finals at the New York Jets and New York Giants’ home turf - the MetLife Stadium. In just four days, the most prestigious fixture in world football will be played here as the most expensive stadium in the world plays host to the World Cup Final. Between now and Saturday, we will be finding out who plays in that fixture.

Tonight, we have France versus Finland meanwhile on Saturday evening Holland will face up against Denmark. Finland arrive here tonight with a vengeance against their opponents after France defeated Aapo Virtanen’s team in the European Championships just two years ago as Antoine Griezmann won the game 2-1 with an 84th minute goal.

Looking at the lineups for both sides, we see Aapo Virtanen has opted for his regular 3-3-2-2 formation that has been used all the way through this tournament. Tuomas Keskinen starts in goal once again for Finland as the former number one Lukasz Hradecky has been completely booted out of the starting eleven throughout this competition. A back three for Finland consists of the former Oulu pair Aleksi Niemi and Noah Nurmi alongside Rubin Kazan’s Sauli Vaisanen. Starting as the right wing-back is Tariq Kazi with Jere Uronen on the left. A name familiar to American soccer fans will be Maximus Tainio who plays for New York City FC and he will be in defensive midfield today. Antti Huhtamaki and Kaan Kairinen take up the central midfield spots as Finland’s all-time top scorer Joel Pohjanpalo and Oliver Antman start as strikers.

A few of Finland’s players will be familiar to the American and Canadian audience. Aleksi Niemi plays for Montreal Impact, Tainio for New York City FC, Kaan Kairinen for Los Angeles FC and finally Antti Huhtamaki who plays for Sporting Kansas.

There is undoubtedly much more talent in the French line-up, though. Alban Lafont starts in goal for Etienne Didot’s side. Sidibé takes up the right-back spot with Theo Hernández on the left. Benjamin Pavard and Aymeric Laporte start as centre-backs in the 4-4-1-1 system. Amadou Traoré and Thomas Lemar start as wingers with Tanguy Ndombele and Mickael Cuisance in the middle. Nabil Fekir of Real Madrid starts just behind the striker as Aapo Virtanen’s Manchester City colleague Kylian Mbappé leads the French attack for this one.

With ten members of the French squad over the age of 30, with Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir and Paul Pogba included in that criteria, many are calling this the last of the famous French side that has achieved so much together as the 2018 World Cup winners, the two-time Nations League winners and the 2022 EUROs winners. For many of the squad, this will be their last chance to leave their mark on the international stage.
18:55: With the build-up all but done, the national anthems sung to their highest pride and the players running across the turf into their positions, we go straight into the World Cup Semi-Final.

1’: It’s Mbappé to kick us off here for the World Cup Semi-Final between France and Finland. It’s gone back to Fekir and we’re off!

8’: It’s bounced off Theo Hernández and out for Finland’s first set-piece - and we all know how dangerous these can be! Uronen is set to take it for the Finns. It’s an inswinger and Uronen’s held both hands aloft. It’s sailing straight over the the back post where Pohjanpalo waits! It’s hit Lafont’s knees and onto the post, was it over the line?! The referee says no! So, so close for Joel Pohjanpalo and a possible early opener for Finland!

18’: Tariq Kazi has a throw-in over on the far side for Finland. They have been much more forthright in their mentality so far in this game, nothing like the defensiveness we have seen previously. Hang on though, Lemar has intercepted the throw-in and the momentum is in his favour. It’s tried to go to Mbappé but Vaisanen calmly controls before playing it back the way he is facing to Keskinen who will boot this away. Kazi, to Huhtamaki and then to Antman. Theo Hernández has gone flying into the back of Antman over on the right there, and remember he’s already on a booking... He’s being called over by the referee and it looks like a card is coming here! It’s a red card for Theo Hernández! France have been reduced to ten men early on in the World Cup Semi-Final! Now, this could get interesting from here!

35’: Now this looks very threatening from Finland. Huhtamaki is standing over a free-kick in the center of the field, about 20 to 25 yards from goal. Alban Lafont has arranged a five-man wall for it. Huhtamaki’s looking to bend it around the wall towards the near post, just flashed past the wrong side of it though! That was a great chance to take the lead for Finland!

45+2’: Well, we have reached the end of the first-half here. It’s still goalless between the two sides in this Semi-Final but this is always going to be remembered as Theo Hernández let his country down by getting a second yellow and sending his team down to ten men for the remainder of this fixture!

46’: We’re back again for the second-half of this World Cup Semi-Final between the ten-man France and Finland, who are all set to kick off this half with Oliver Antman standing over the ball. It’s 0-0 and here we go!

73’: Jere Uronen’s throw is dispossessed by Amadou Traoré as Robin Lod is too late to react to the interception. Vaisanen gets the ball back over the halfway line before passing it back down the left to Uronen who has had an impressive game so far! Pohjanpalo has helped him out by creating an option further down the left. Sidibé tackles and takes the ball away from him though and it’s been fired up to Willem Geubbels - the only man up for France. Good hold-up play there as it’s laid off to Tolisso with the Finnish defence running back into their defensive structure that no team has really been able to crack in this tournament. Spread out right to Sidibé now. With a bit of play in the middle it’s fired back over to the left for Lucas Hernández. It’s a good-looking cross here, and Geubbels meets it! Tuomas Keskinen - what a save!!! The AC Oulu youth graduate goalkeeper has kept his country in this competition with an absolutely world class stop from Geubbels! Finland certainly have a LOT to thank him for if they get through this game with their goal untouched!

82’: We’re into the last eight minutes of normal time here and it’s still goalless despite Finland’s one-man advantage. Uronen’s looking to deliver another inswinging corner from the right here. Over to the back-post for Pohjanpalo again! Headed just over by the Finland legend.

90+5’: A last-minute attack for France, maybe? Willem Geubbels has his back to goal about thirty yards away. Hernández now has it on the left and it looks like he might be able to put a ball into the danger area… Now that is quite possibly the most important block of Tariq Kazi’s career there! He’s stopped a ball coming in and it’s now with Glen Kamara who will surely get rid of this now to be safe. It’s been played all the way up to Savolainen, but the referee has called for full-time! This one will head into extra-time!

91’: We’re back at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for the first-half of extra-time in this incredibly important World Cup Semi-Final. It’s currently 0-0 between the two sides who have given everything in the past 90 minutes, however, it’s Willem Geubbels to take the kick-off here.

105+2’: Corentin Tolisso has located Aymeric Laporte superbly over on the left. It’s back to Tolisso but it’s half-time in extra-time here. Still 0-0 after 105 minutes!

106’: We’re back again for the final half of this World Cup Semi-Final. Teemu Savolainen has the ball under his foot. With a big roar from everyone packed into this beautiful stadium, the game restarts!

107’: Uronen has a dangerous looking free-kick here. It’ll be interesting to see what he does here because it is close enough to take a shot but the Finland players are all in the box, with only Robin Lod back defending the potential threat of Willem Geubbels. He’s going for the shot here… Uronen hits the bar!!! So unlucky from the left wing-back! So lucky for France who have been dismal today regardless of being a man down!

115’: It’s a goal-kick for France with Alban Lafont looking to punt this upfield. It falls completely uncontested to Sauli Vaisanen’s feet. He’s picked out a great pass out right to Tariq Kazi who is in loads of space. A pass down the line to Savolainen is now held up by the big man. Back to Kazi, now it’s Glen Kamara, sideways to Robin Lod. Uronen is in tonnes of space out on the left here! Sidibé is nowhere to be seen as he receives the ball. Uronen’s pushed the ball out of his feet, he’s determined here, running at Sidibé. Uronen in the box now, drops the shoulder and he can get a shot off! GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!! YOU CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!! JERE URONEN MAY HAVE JUST SENT FINLAND TO THE FIFA WORLD CUP FINAL!!! I AM ABSOLUTELY LOST FOR WORDS HERE, AAPO VIRTANEN IS GOING ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, EVERYBODY IS GOING ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!!! THERE’S FOUR MINUTES LEFT HERE, CAN FINLAND DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?

117’: The anticipation in this stadium is absolutely incomparable, God knows what it’s like over in Finland right now. Vaisanen’s thrown it to Pohjanpalo down the left. Lod, Kamara, now to the hero that is Jere Uronen. He’s full of confidence and darting down the left, drops it into Pohjanpalo, now Robin Lod. Teemu Savolainen has it in the box but he’s got Ndombele keeping his back to goal. Ndombele’s slid in actually! Did he get the ball? The referee has blown his whistle as Savolainen lays on the floor, he’s running over to the VAR now! This game is just bonkers! Kelvin Lopes stands by the video monitor of the incident. This could be a penalty to Finland here… He’s back on the pitch… No penalty! France may have the slightest chance of an equaliser with that decision, however slim it may be.

120+2’: It’s almost time up here in the World Cup Semi-Final. Just seconds remain until Finland are confirmed to be heading into the World Cup Final in four days time! Kazi launches it up the wing from the throw-in, Savolainen uses his shoulder to get into Laporte but it sticks at the Frenchman’s feet. That’s a great switch over to Sidibé - is there enough time for something here?! Sidibé’s got a cross in… All it needs is a touch! There is no touch as Niemi looks past him with delight. Hernández is having to sprint over the end of the field to keep the ball in play… But it’s gone out! And that is full-time!!! Finland have reached the World Cup Final!!! They have avenged France for their EURO 2022 victory in the most heartbreaking way possible!!! An absolutely phenomenal performance from Aapo Virtanen’s men here, they absolutely deserve this moment!

Scott: A truly momentous tournament run here, it's becoming something really special!

Justice: We absolutely love some extra-time shithousery there. And yeah, I did beat them ;)

TheLFCFan: Better than even I could expect now with this Final on the way!

BigMaguire: Really proud of all I've done in charge of Finland, to take them to the summit of the game now will just top it all off!
Incredible! Playing the game with a man advantage for all but 18 minuets, certainly helped but nothing can take away what Aapo has achieved with Finland now. Just one more victory away now.
Absolutely stupendous!!!! One more win now! Go and do it! And it you can beat France, you can beat anyone! And the graphics are so slick!
Uronen is one of few names I know from that squad. Delighted to see he has come up good at such an important time for Finland! Incredible, incredible moment. A historic day. Fantastic! Can't believe Didot is the France manager, too. Such a strange managerial appointment!
Robin Lod, remember him from FIFA. Anyways congrats on the win mate, revenge against the frogs :) Go and win it now.

I hadn’t quite comprehended just how significant this day was. I was a calm personality pretty much all of the time: I had gone from a youth coach at a second tier Finnish football club and I’ve reached the heights of winning the Champions League and barely any of it had even daunted on me, really. Of course, it can be a shock to you once you notice how talented you actually are at something, especially when it’s as lucrative and intelligent as football management, with all the varying aspects.

I had the same feeling here really. Here I was, taking Finland - not only a nation that had not been in a major international tournament before my arrival, but also my home country that nurtured me into the man I am today - into a World Cup Final. Yet despite this supposed weight on my shoulders, I felt nothing. As if this is what my life had been leading up to all these years, from moving from Helsinki to Oulu, starting out as an apprentice at the local club AC Oulu, winning the league titles, moving to Fiorentina, moving to Manchester City, the EUROs and now this. Of course, it’s every little boy’s dream to achieve such heights but only about one in five-hundred million can actually experience.

Today we were up against Holland in the World Cup Final, with their side scraping through the semi’s themselves thanks to a 13th minute Justin Kluivert goal against Denmark. My opposite number: Giovanni van Bronckhorst was pretty much the same as me. His nation had never won a World Cup, no matter how much they had deserved it in decades gone by with the unbelievable teams that they have produced throughout the years. We were both here to win our country’s worldwide bragging rights.

It was only a tap on the shoulder that made me realise that all of my team were looking at me while I was deep in my own thoughts. I lifted my head up with my mouth hung open before searching for my notepad with the lineup for tonight’s game. I went over to the whiteboard in the changing rooms and started drawing little circles that depicted players in their positions.

’13. Keskinen, CB: 4. Vaisanen, 5. Niemi, 18. Nurmi RWB: 2. Kazi, LWB: 3. Uronen, DM: 6. Tainio, CM: 7. Huhtamaki, 8. Kairinen, ST: 19. Savolainen, 9. Pohjanpalo’ I wrote, all in their positions. I looked across the room. The lineup was familiar to many until I glanced at Teemu Savolainen - the striker that I used to manage at AC Oulu and who has now gone on to achieve great things in his career since moving on. He was gobsmacked that he was starting, with Oliver Antman usually in his starting spot alongside Joel Pohjanpalo. We caught eyes with each other as he looked away from the whiteboard briefly, I smiled and nodded to him.

“The lot of you: you know what to do, it’s just one more win and you are champions of the world - it’s up to you whether you want to be known as that for the next four years. Teemu,” I said, looking at Teemu Savolainen who was still delighted that he was starting today. “You’re going to do something big today, I can see it in your eyes.” I let the silence run for the next five seconds before the changing rooms buzzer went off to signal that the players and staff needed to make their way to the pitch entrance.

With the players lining up for the biggest game of their careers, I wandered out before them into my spot in the dugout. I wanted to see my players from the touchline as the touchline had become my home in the past few years. I wanted to be like a parent watching my kids enter the school on their first day of education.

Unlike club football, I didn’t feel as much nervousness as a major club fixture simply because I knew half of the crowd were from corporate companies who had forked out fortunes for a ticket at the expense of the loyal national team fans who had been priced out of turning up. It was completely different to the partisanship of club football. However, it didn’t make me value this moment less. Although it was to be performed in front of the corporate bodies in the local vicinity, the shockwaves that a result would send through the world and back home, back in Oulu where people there saw me as a local hero years before. That is what made this so important to me.

Our national anthem was performed after the Dutch. Maamme - “Our Land” in English - was being belted out by every passionate Finn across the planet, louder than ever before and I joined them in doing so, looking across the line of players that I had entrusted to take over the world with tonight. Although I could barely hear it inside the stadium, I could hear the roar in every home, every bar in Finland as the players darted out to every corner of the pitch in excitement.

It was to be Teemu Savolainen who would kick off this historic fixture for both nations. My mind switched from the effervescent patriotism to the task at hand - winning the World Cup Final and bringing the most valuable trophy in world football to Finland.

For some reason, I kept looking over to Teemu Savolainen and his movement. He looked focused, not nervous. I could tell when one of my players felt nervous, particularly in such a high-profile match. But I knew Teemu from my Oulu days - he always rose to the challenge. Tuomas Keskinen had a free-kick in his own box. The three players at the center of defence always consistently provided my goalkeeper with at least one option, which he chose to go with Noah Nurmi this time. Nurmi knew the drill, especially with a lack of quality in comparison to our star-studded opponents. He hoofed the ball up to the huge figure of Savolainen, he nodded the ball on while facing towards goal and got the better of Virgil van Dijk. It was then that I noticed that the lad was one-on-one. The Dutch keeper came rushing out which was when Savolainen made his decision.

With a brief look up to see the goalkeeper’s movement, Savolainen pulled back his right foot, with his standing leg firmly implanted in the turf. The ball rolled just in front of him when he staggered the movement of his right leg to take it around the goalkeeper’s already committed body. Savolainen went around De Graaf before calmly slotting the ball into the back of Holland’s goal in front of the full-capacity 82,000 MetLife Stadium.

I fell to my knees as my players took the goalscorer down with a rugby tackle before letting the pile-on of bodies ensue. I looked up to the afternoon sky, the beautiful New Jersey sun shining down upon me. I pounded the turf with my fist out of jubilation, we were ahead and eighty minutes remained until we were to be crowned as world champions. Savolainen, out of breath from being underneath at least eight fully-grown men came running over to me, despite the referee’s aggressive whistle blowing to get him back on the Finnish side of the field to kick off again. He came up and hugged me whispering: “That one’s for you, boss.” I grinned for the next five seconds before the referee’s whistle for Holland to restart the game brought me plummeting back to the football game.

The hard part was now upon us and I quickly realised with the pace that Holland were attacking us at. Uronen stopped the threat of Justin Kluivert with a simple standing tackle that went out for a throw-in. “Well played, Jere! Absolutely fucking fantastic!” I screamed, relieved at Holland being denied a quickfire strike back.

In the final minute of added time we had a throw-in over on the far side. Kaan Kairinen was the obvious candidate to receive the ball from Uronen. As predicted, the ball went in towards Kairinen’s feet right on the edge of the box. It was then that I saw Kaan take a fall and heard the whistle’s blow. “Penalty!!!” My bench shouted. Despite not hearing this, the referee did the VAR motion with his hands and began running towards us to check out the monitor. It was definitely a foul as it was a blatant push, it was just a matter of if it was inside or outside the penalty area. One of my coaches was reprimanded by the fourth official for shouting at the referee while checking the footage. The referee turned back onto the pitch but held his hand up pointing towards Holland’s goal, not to the penalty spot. He had given a free-kick. We simply had to get over it, despite a portion of the crowd disputing the referee’s decision.

After the free-kick it was half-time, with the players coming into the dressing room, they were greeted with a huge hug each. The last was Teemu Savolainen - the goalscorer and the man who had been so shocked to be starting in the first place - and he received the warmest embrace from me and the rest of the backroom and playing staff.

“I’m not even giving you a team-talk this time, guys,” I said, with a slight smirk on the face. “I barely gave you one before the game, but the fact is that we are ahead, we have the advantage over them. You’ve done this plenty of times this tournament and in the past - that’s the whole reason why Germany never qualified. You talk amongst yourselves because you know what to do from here.” I left them with that before heading over to talk with my staff about the potential direction of this game on a tactical basis.

With the second half kicking off with Benali, I looked behind me at the twelve substitutes lined up, knowing that all of them would dream of getting on this pitch in these circumstances. It was then that I decided that Thomas Lam - retiring from international football after this game - would come on the pitch to replace Noah Nurmi. The glint in his eye when I ran him through his positional details was a beautiful thing.

From the whistle of the second half, Holland were dominating. I knew we were stable at the back and that Thomas Lam provided a freshness to the central back three, as well as the defensive three in front of them. We were being bombarded with Holland attacks and I even brought Teemu Savolainen back for defensive duties at that point. One of my technical coaches showed me the statistics. We had had two shots compared to Holland’s ten and we had only had 30% of the ball possession. I knew these stats were not going to swing in our favour at any point so I solidified the defence with another change, with Maximus Tainio coming off for Glen Kamara.

The defence was so tired as we entered the last few additional minutes of the 90 minutes, so it was a relief to see Tariq Kazi run out with the ball on a counter attacking chance in the 92nd minute which got the Finnish fans excited. Kazi played the ball inside to Glen Kamara and I saw Savolainen making a run, peeling off of Ditewig. “Play it to Teemu!!!” I screamed at Kamara, which he responded to by taking a touch out and firing a ball high to Savolainen. The striker watched the ball come across his body from a height. It was then that he volleyed the ball into the back of the net, sending the fans, staff and players into raptures. Midway through the celebrations it was noticed that the assistant had flagged for offside with Savolainen being the offender. I realised this and I saw an opportunity, despite a goal being chalked off. It was the 92nd minute of the game, we were seconds away from being world champions. “KEEP CELEBRATING!” I shouted out. “KILL MORE TIME CELEBRATING!!!” I said before I chose to run onto the pitch in celebration along with my staff in an attempt of time-wasting. It took the fourth official to take me back to my dugout and explained the situation, with me pretending to be surprised by the news that the goal had been disallowed.

With one last punt upfield by Aleksi Niemi, it was then that the full-time whistle blew. The arms behind the backs of everybody on our bench detached as we launched ourselves onto the field. I had been wearing a three-piece suit and I chucked my suit jacket on the pitch to celebrate as freely as possible. In just my waistcoat, I knee slid which then turned into me laying on my back, facing directly up at the sky. Teemu Savolainen, Antti Huhtamaki, Oliver Antman, Aleksi Niemi and Noah Nurmi all ran up to me. They were all players that I had nurtured at Oulu and turned into world champions today. They put their hands behind my back and picked me up, gathering all the rest of the Finland squad around me. With the World Cup sat at the top of the east stand, I was thrown up in the air three times as a celebration.

It was only then that I confirmed to myself that I was one of the best that has ever lived.

TheLFCFan: The man advantage definitely helped as we were able to crowd out the middle of the field. The win has been achieved, we have done it!

Justice: Cmooonnnn!!!

BigMaguire: Cheers mate! Thanks for your comments on the graphics, I try to make it look as good as possible ;)

Scott: Uronen is arguably the player of the tournament, at least for Finland! Didot is certainly a strange appointment, but he has done well - aside from the Semi-Final result ;)

SonOfAnarchy: He’s a very talented and now experienced international player! I have done as you asked ;)
An incredible, incredible moment for the players, management and all the Finnish people! There is a new World Cup winner and it is Finland! Astonishing. I am in disbelief at what Aapo and the players have achieved. It was almost written into the script for Teemu to deliver on the biggest stage of them all. I cannot believe it. Well fucking done, Aapo.

Let's just hope Leena is okay, too... maybe the World Cup win brought a brief smile to her face, in the midst of all her grief.
Unbelievable! Aapo has taken Finland to the top of the world with a core of his side being players he has helped developed at Oulu. What a career and he certainly deserves to call himself one of the greatest to ever do it! Finland, World Champions. Who would of thought it!?

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