Sweden Defeats Finland in International Friendly

Team Sweden took the overnight ferry to Finland and upset their hosts.

In the annual “Finland-Sweden” football game, Team Sweden got off the overnight ferry from Stockholm Saturday morning and a few hours later defeated Team Finland 15-10 in the tough confines of Sonera Stadium in Helsinki.

Team Sweden QB vs Finland

Swedish quarterback Anders Hermodsson looking for daylight.

Swedish quarterback Anders Hermodsson completed 14 of 30 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown to guide his team to a victory in this traditional battle held every year. Earlier in the day, the Finnish women’s team had dominated Sweden, beating them 39-12.

There is no love lost between these two teams. In fact, since 1992 this game has been played 14 times and each team has won seven apiece. However, Sweden has won five of the last six.

Sweden capitalized early on a Finnish miscue as Finnish running back Veikka Lehtonen fumbled the ball on the second play from scrimmage on his own 23 yard line. From there, Hermodsson went to work. Throwing quick ins and using his own feet, he moved Team Sweden to the Finnish six yard line before stalling. Sweden settled for a field goal and took an early 3-0 lead. Finland wasted no time as on the very next Finnish drive quarterback Miro Kadmiry combined with receiver Aappo Soloranta for a 42 yard gain deep into Swedish territory. Punishing running back Veikka Lehtonen helped drive the ball down to the Swedish 14 but a 30 yard field goal attempt went wide.

Team Sweden vs Finland4

Swedish receiver Jakob Dahre getting hauled down.

Neither team could mount much offense until midway through the second quarter when Finland marched down to the Swedish five yard line on the legs of Kadmiry and Lehtonen. Exposing Sweden’s weakness against the run the pair combined for 74 yards capping it with a 32 yard field goal to even the score at 3-3.

The third quarter continued much the same way as both defenses elevated their level of play. However, late in the third, Hermodsson found Fredrik Eklund for a 28 yard touchdown reception giving Sweden a 10-3 lead. Early in the fourth though Finland responded, mounting a six play 63 yard drive culminating in a Joonas Raatikainen two yard touchdown to tie the score again at 10-10.

Team Sweden vs Finland3

Finland’s swarming defense hemming in Hermodsson.

Then on Finland’s next series Sweden pinned them on their five yard line and the Finnish offense was trapped in the end zone for a safety. With under two minutes remaining, on the kickoff following the safety, the Finns attempted an onside kick which Sweden recovered at the Finnish 32. Four plays later Swedish kicker Hampus Soderberg kicked a 37 yard field goal (his second of the day) with less than 20 seconds left to make the final score 15-10 for Sweden.

Team Sweden vs Finland2

Looking for the ball.

Finland’s rushing game tested the Swedish front seven time and again as they gained 160 yards on the ground, most of it either Lehtonen or Kadmiry. But Finland’s passing attack let them down as Kadmiry only completed 6 of 18 passes for a mere 57 yards.

The referees made themselves conspicuous as they doled out 24 penalties for a total of 213 yards. Sweden’s superb hard-hitting defensive back Phillip Minja was ejected late in the game for “targeting”. He was also guilty of the same call in the European championships against Germany.

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.