- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

HELSINKI (AP) - Finland coach Hans Backe was fired with the team in an 11-match winless run that included a poor start to World Cup qualifying.

The 64-year-old Backe, who has coached the national team since January, will be replaced by Markku Kanerva.

Backe coached Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls from 2010-12 and also coached Panathinaikos in 2006. He was an assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson at Manchester City in 2007-08 and Mexico in 2008-09.

The 52-year-old Kanerva has served in various coaching duties for Finland’s national teams since 2004. The association said Monday that Kanerva’s contract is for three years.

Soccer association chairman Pertti Alaja says the Finnish team had been hindered by injuries and bad luck under Backe’s tenure, but that the results “didn’t satisfy anyone.”

Finland has nine defeats and two draws in its last 11 matches.

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