Finland Beats Team Sweden, Wins Nordic U-19 Championships

Team Finland captured the Nordic U19 championship title for the first time since 2005 beating Sweden 30-14 in Vantaa, Finland Saturday.

This ended Sweden’s streak of five straight wins and brought the crown back to Finland for the fifth time. The tournament has been held every other year since 1997 and Sweden now leads 6-5. Denmark finished third.

Finnish receiver Markus Haapasaari led Finland catching five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and was named tournament MVP. Running back Karri Pajarinen led all Finnish rushers with 26 carries for 147 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Oscar Drockila threw for 106 yards on eight of 19 passing. Daniel Luoma kicked a 35 yard field goal to round out Finland’s scoring.


Swedish RB Vilinhton Tengroth

Swedish running back Vilinhton Tengroth was a one-man wrecking crew in a losing cause rushing for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. For that he was name Swedish MVP of the game. Tengroth ran for 400 yards in Sweden’s two games in the tournament.

Finland took control of the game in the second half after holding a slim 10-7 lead at halftime. After watching Tengroth give Sweden a 14-10 lead early in the third quarter, Finland scored three straight touchdowns, two in the third stanza. Running back Jesper Korkalainen scored first from one yard out and then Haapasaari caught an 11 yard touchdown pass. Finally Pajarinen ran the final score in from the 21 yard line midway through the fourth.

Needless to say, Team Finland head coach Tero Virtanen was happy with the win:

“This was a tough, physical game today and extremely cold, as it was expected. We were prepared to handle just that and today 45 guys are champions of the North. I couldn’t be prouder.”


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.