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Channel: Before The 'D'...Association Football around the world, 1863-1937.
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Finland 1912

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Up until 1917 the Grand Duchy of Finland (Великое княжество Финляндское) was a part of the Russian Empire. The Head of State was the Emperor of Russia (Nikolai II), under the title Grand Duke of Finland.  Finland did, however, enjoy a certain amount of autonomy.
In the sporting domain Finland joined FIFA in 1908 (though they didn't play an international until 1911) and Russia joined in 1912.
Finland had played 2 friendlies prior to the 1912 Olympics, both heavy defeats (5-2 and 7-1) to Sweden in October 1911 and June 1912. 
2 days after the defeat to Sweden in Stockholm Finland played their first competitive international. Their opponents were Italy (7 previous internationals and 1 victory). 
Watched by a modest crowd of 600, the match was refereed by Herr Hugo Meisl. 
20 year old Jarl Öhman put the Finns ahead in the 2nd minute. By the 25th minute Italy had taken a 2-1 lead. Eino Soinio, Finland's 17 year old captain, equalized in the 40th minute.There were no goals in the 2nd half. Extra time saw a Bror Wiberg goal (105') secure the win for Finland.
Next up was a 2nd round match with Russia, played the following day (30.06.12) at 10:00 am! Finland made only one change, and even Wickström, who had missed the 2nd half of the Italy game with an injury, played less than 24 hrs later.A crowd of 2-300 saw goals from Wiberg and Öhman give Finland a 2-1 win.
This set up a semi final against Great Britain (England Amateurs)- an unenviable prospect as England Amateurs had only lost 1 game in the previous 6 years and routinely posted double figure scores.
Finland fell behind to a 2nd minute own goal. Bradford City's Harold Walden added a 2nd goal in the 7th minute. Finland then put in a respectable appearance and it wasn't until the 77th minute that Walden scored a 3rd. Inevitably Vivian Woodward got a goal as Great Britain won 4-0. 


Jarl 'Lali'Öhman

 Eino Soinio

This left the Finns with one more game to contest- a play off for the bronze medal against The Netherlands. 
Netherlands were coached by England veteran Edgar Chadwick, There was no scoring in the first quarter, but then Netherlands, and Jan Vos in particular, ran riot. It was 4-0 at the break and Netherlands ran out 9-0 winners, with Vos getting 5.

Finland only played one more international before the outbreak of the war in 1914, losing 4-3 to Sweden in Stockholm (24.05.14).





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