August 12, 2015 / 11:04 AM / 2 years ago

Finland pick Swede Backe as new head coach

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Hans Backe, a veteran coach and popular commentator on Swedish television, has been named new head coach for Finland’s football team, the Nordic country’s football association (SPL) said on Wednesday.

Then FC Copenhagen coach Hans Backe shouts during an UEFA Cup first round first leg soccer match against Hamburg SV in Hamburg September 15, 2005. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/Files

Backe, a 63-year-old native of Sweden, previously managed FC Copenhagen, who under his stewardship won three Danish championships, and acted as a deputy coach to Sven-Goran Eriksson at Manchester City in 2007-2008.

Backe’s most recent post as a coach was at New York Red Bulls from 2010-2012.

He also served as deputy coach for Mexico in 2008-2009, but Finland will be his first stint as a head coach for a national team.

He will take up his new post at the start of 2016, the SPL said.

“Everything is possible,” Backe told a news conference announcing his appointment on a two-year deal which will run from January 2016, citing the success of Iceland under compatriot Lars Lagerback.

“My job will be to lift the self-confidence of the Finnish players so that they believe that everything is possible.”

Finland’s previous coach Mixu Paatelainen was sacked in June, following a fourth straight defeat in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

That poor run of results leaves Finland second from bottom of Group F with four points from six games and little hope of qualifying for the tournament in France.

Finland have never qualified for a World Cup or European Championship finals and are currently ranked 89th in the world.

Reporting By Anna Ercanbrack; Editing by: Ossian Shine

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