Hodgson knighted in Finland
London - England's globetrotting coach Roy Hodgson has been knighted in Finland for helping the minnows put their name on the football map.
Hodgson, appointed England coach in May, managed the Nordic nation from January 2006 to November 2007 when they came agonisingly close to qualification for a first major tournament at Euro 2008.
"Roy's time as the manager of Finland lifted the level of Finnish football culture and made Finland internationally better known as a football nation," Finnish ambassador to Britain Pekka Huhtaniemi said on the English FA's website (www.thefa.com) on Saturday.
Finland reached their highest ever FIFA ranking of 33 and were just one goal away from qualifying for Euro 2008 under Hodgson, when a victory over Portugal in their last qualifier rather than a 0-0 draw would have put them through.
"I enjoyed my life (in Finland) very much. Not only in football, but outside of it as well. I hope that my relationship with Finland, which is already great, becomes even greater," said the 65-year-old Hodgson.
The England boss has plied his trade in club football in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, England, Norway and Denmark, is fluent in multiple languages, has won eight league titles and has also coached the national sides of Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
"Roy brought with him a higher degree of professionalism and more disciplined style of playing," added Huhtaniemi.
Finland, now at their lowest ever ranking of 96 and coached by Mixu Paatelainen, are grouped with World and European champions Spain and 1998 World Cup winners France in their tough 2014 World Cup qualifying pool.