Finland confident of Pukki recovery for Euros


Helsinki (AFP) – Finland’s star striker Teemu Pukki’s prospects of recovering from an ankle injury in time for the European Championships are “looking good”, manager Markku Kanerva said on Wednesday as he announced his squad. 

“We’ll see when he fully returns to training how good his ankle is,” Kanerva told a press conference, but said he is “very positive that he’ll be in shape by the competition.” 

The 31-year-old attacker scored ten goals in ten matches as Finland qualified for the Euros for the first time.

He suffered ligament damage as Norwich City clinched the  English Championship title with a 4-1 win over Reading at the start of May.

Finland, which will be making their first ever international tournament appearance, are ranked 54th by FIFA. 

Also making the “Eagle Owls” squad will be Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, Brentford’s Marcus Forss and captain Tim Sparv, who is recuperating after a knee operation and this month ended a contract with Greek side AEL Larissa.

Finland will face off against Denmark on June 12, before meeting other Group B contenders Russia and Belgium, who top the FIFA rankings. 

Before heading to the team’s base camp in St Petersburg, Finland will  play friendlies against Sweden and Estonia on May 29 and June 4.

Finland squad:

Goalkeepers:  Lukas Hradecky (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Jesse Joronen (Brescia/ITA), Anssi Jaakkola (Bristol Rovers/ENG) 

Defenders: Juhani Ojala (Vejle Boldklub/DEN), Leo Vaisanen (Elfsborg/SWE), Sauli Vaisanen (Chievo Verona/ITA), Paulus Arajuuri (Pafos/CYP), Daniel O’Shaugnessy (HJK), Nikolai Alho (MTK Budapest/HUN),  Albin Granlund (Stal Mielec/POL), Robert Ivanov (Warta Poznan/POL), Jere Uronen (Genk/BEL), Nicholas Hamalainen (Queens Park Rangers/ENG) 

Midfield and attackers: 

Pyry Soiri (Esbjerg/DEN), Glen Kamara (Glasgow Rangers/SCO), Joni Kauko (Esbjer/DEN), Onni Valakari (Pafos/CYP), Rasmus Schueller (Djurgardens/SWE), Thomas Lam (PEC Zwolle/NLD), Tim Sparv (AEL Larissa/GRC), Fredrik Jensen (Augsburg/GER), Joel Pohjanpalo (Union Berlin/GER) Lassi Lappalainen (CF Montreal/CAN), Marcus Forss (Brentford/ENG), Jasin Assehnoun (FC Lahti), Teemu Pukki (Norwich City/ENG)

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