Soccer-Pukki set to start against Denmark as Finns feel football fever

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group J - Greece v Finland

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Striker Teemo Pukki raised the fever of Finnish fans a notch by declaring has himself fit to lead the line against Denmark in their opening Euro 2020 Group B clash at the Parken Stadium on Saturday.

Pukki, who scored 10 of Finland's 16 goals as they came runner-up to Italy in their group to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time, told reporters he has fully recovered from an ankle injury he sustained in May.

"I've been training normally for the past week and a half, as all the other player have, and I played 30 minutes in the last preparation game, I haven't had any issues with the ankle and I'm ready to play as much as the coach will allow me to," the Norwich City player said.

Finland's blue-and-white clad fans had already begun arriving in Copenhagen on Friday, enjoying the sunshine around the stadium as their team made their final preparations.

"There is a clear football fever in Finland at the moment, it's great to see that there's been a lot of videos, support messages, songs sent to us," Pukki added.

Both Pukki and team captain Tim Sparv know the Danes well, having spent four and six years respectively playing in the Danish top flight, and they have plenty of respect for their opponents.

"In my mind, the Danish team don't have any big weaknesses, we've been talking about their offensive game, they have some big names that can be very dangerous if we give them the time and space to do what they want," Sparv said.

Coach Markku Kanerva said he had no worries about Pukki or Sparv, who had been troubled by a knee injury in the lead-up to the tournament.

"There are no new injuries, and we will go through our final training to see if all our players are 100 percent in shape. It all looks good, the players that had some small issues are doing well," he said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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