August 12, 2015 / 11:19 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Soccer-Finland pick Swede Backe as new head coach

HELSINKI, Aug 12 (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.

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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