Monday, April 15, 2013

Finnish Premier League Football

Sunday, my friend asked me to go to Kuopio to see his favorite football (soccer) team start the season.  A trip and a game was too much to pass up. Kuopio is about 150 km/2hrs northeast of Jyvaskyla. The countryside varied from very flat, with lots of birch trees, fields, and lakes near Jyvaskyla to more rolling hills and fir trees.

Kuopio and Jyvaskyla both field teams in the Finnish Premier League.  The football is top quality, but the overall size seems almost lilliputian. Here's a picture of the stadium:
If you run your eye up the mid-line to the top of the stands, you'll know where I was sitting. Excellent seat!

The weather was very cold:32 F.  "Warming up" here has real meaning for the players. Take a look; notice the amount of snow surrounding the field:

video

The players worked hard under difficult conditions. The pitch was artificial, looked damp and heavy, yet much of the game was fast paced. The final, unfortunately for my fanatic friends, was 1-1. Here's a moment of the action:

video

With a kahvi and makkara (coffee and a sausage) at half-time helped me stay warm enough to fully enjoy the game, the people and the countryside.  While exhausting, the trip was well worth it!  Banzi Kups!

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