Finland has had a cursed soccer past. Now, as a first-time Euro qualifier, it is ready to believe.
While Kanerva may have put that on hold, his players emphasize that he never stopped teaching. Sparv described Kanerva as “very pedagogical,” praising the coach for running team meetings as a dialogue instead of a monologue. Kanerva has been known to delegate assignments that amount to homework, in which groups of players collaborate on tactical analyses and present their findings. Asked whether Kanerva’s background as a teacher is apparent, Lod chuckled and said, “Oh, yeah, you can definitely tell.”