Finland will be relegated to the European Championship semi-finals

lost 3-2 to in their first-ever European Championships in futsal on Tuesday, and captain Panu Autio promised the new generation would continue to advance, although he announced he would quit.

Reigning champion Portugal took the lead in the fourth minute, but the knocked him out twice before Miguel Angelo made the winner.

Reaching the semi-finals was a big achievement for the Finns as their Croatian coach Mico Martic pointed out after the game.

"We reached our maximum, as the team is an amateur team that ended up playing like a professional team against professional teams," said Martic, who is leaving his position as national team coach.

" really pleased that Portugal is a great team, and a reigning European and champion. They also have the best coach in the world. But our players showed that they can challenge the reigning world champions."

Captain Panu AutoHaving played professionally in and scored 101 goals in 149 matches on the national team after the final, he announced that he would quit his coach and withdraw from international .

He said Tuesday he is not worried about the team’s prospects.

"Finland can continuously improve" said Autio. "We have a huge futsal club in Finland, the team has a lot of great young talents who can grow into players with this experience."

"A new generation coming! It’s been a long journey. I have been on the national team for 16 years. I played in the final tournament. Dream come true! I’m glad I got to experience this as a player."

The sport has suffered greatly from Covid as the number of registered players has fallen from 27,000 in 2019 to 20,000 this year, and the President of the FA Ari said on Tuesday that the performance of the Finnish team may help in the recovery.

"If I quote from an old saying, then futsal has somehow pushed itself onto the map of Finland," said Lahti. "The Finnish audience is quite hungry for success. I think the futsal attracted quite a bit of interest."

Source: The Nordic Page




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