Canaries star Pukki so proud of Euro 2020 qualification with Finland
- Credit: AP
While promotion to the Premier League with Norwich City was special for Teemu Pukki, the striker admits European Championship qualification with Finland has taken his career to a new high.
The 29-year-old made headlines across Europe after his brace helped to beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Helsinki on Friday night, securing his nation's first qualification for a major football tournament.
Full-time sparked a pitch invasion and celebrations in the streets as Pukki and his team-mates secured second place in Group J, to follow Italy into the draw for next summer's finals.
"I am very proud of what we have achieved. I didn't really know what to do or think. There were tears in our eyes," Pukki said.
"This was all people in football in Finland have wanted for so long. Playing in the national team was my first dream and it came true 10 years ago but I never dreamed this would happen."
Pukki scored a penalty in the 64th minute to put the Finns 2-0 up against the visiting minnows, before rounding the keeper to score a second in the 75th minute and make sure of the triumph.
That brace took his tally in Euro 2020 qualifying to nine goals in nine games and his overall tally for the season to 12 in 17 matches for club and country.
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"I've never been so nervous before a match but we did what was needed. Although it was simple, it was also difficult when we knew what was at stake," he continued, speaking to Finnish media outlet Svenska.
"Last season I rose to the Premier League and it was big but still not as big as this, when the wait has been so long."
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Pukki was taken off with a slight limp in the 84th minute but appeared to be moving fine in the after-match celebrations and has travelled with his team-mates to Greece for a dead rubber on Monday night (7.45pm).
That game brings an end to qualifying, before the Finns can look forward to the Euro 2020 draw being made in Bucharest on Saturday, November 30.
"We deserve this," Pukki added. "The team has been gelled together in recent years and the quality in the team is good. Now we are a European Championship team. It feels completely unreal, but it will soon sink in."