Finland have appointed Hans Backe as Mixu Paatelainen’s replacement as national team coach.
A run of four consecutive defeats left Finland with a mountain to climb in Euro 2016 qualifying and cost Paatelainen his job in June with a near two-month long hunt for his predecessor leading the Finland Football Association (SPL) to Backe.
Backe will take up the role from January, meaning Markku Kanerva will take charge of Finland’s remaining four qualifiers, in which they need to make up a five-point deficit to stand a chance of making France 2016.
The 63-year-old Swede has considerable experience as a coach, but has ventured into international football just once previously, as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s assistant with Mexico.
His most recent role was as head coach of New York Red Bulls – who to this day have a supporters club named ‘Viking Army’ in his honour.
Backe will be assisted in his role by three former Finland internationals – Jonatan Johansson, Mika Nurmela and Antti Niemi.
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