Published on Wednesday, 21 January 2015

news 20150121_2Tommi KAUTONEN: "Me and Litmanen`s friendship since we were 2…".

Finnish national team U-21 was pretty humble starting their performance at current Commonwealth Cup. The team gained 4 points out of 9 within group stage earning third place in group A and entering the great eight of a tournament only by their additional criteria. However in quarterfinal Tommi Kautonen's team showed their best and won against a striking team of the group – Kyrgyzstan. And even the coach himself performed a real solo. Former midfielder of national team of Finland was cheerful, joked and even managed to surprised journalists he talked with.

– Tommi, analyzing your football resume we've found that you are not only the same age with Jari Litmanen, but even played in Lahti in same kids team. Since what age you are friends?

- You won't believe it – since 2!

- Indeed?kautonen 01

– Yes, our fathers were football players too and played together for national team of Finland. They lived together and both had sons in 1971. So, me and Jari kicked ball together, joined one class at school and played together for a national team of Finland. Also, I am a godfather of his son.

– You were born not just in a football family, but a superfootball one! Still, the town Lahti is not quite the same – it is popular for skiers...

– Ski is very popular there, indeed. But why you've decided Lahti is not football town? What about me? Jari? Our fathers? Joonas Kolkka – a known forward of national team – he played in Netherlands, Germany, England, Greece and also from Lahti! Just a few years ago our town was widely presented in national team, but now it's not. Concerning my family, you are right. Not only my father became a professional player, but me and my three brothers – Turo, Mikko and Olli. All of them played for Repas in Lahti. There, my best friend Jari Litmanen has started his outstanding career.

– It was interesting to know that you had a nickname Auge, Jari had Litti – after known players of national team of Germany Klaus Augenthaler and Pierre Littbarski.

kautonen 02– (laughs). It was Jari who has created the nicks. He was playing for HYK (Helsinki) against Munich Bayern and heard other players called their libero Augenthaler – Auge, Auge! So, after that game he gave me that name thanks to the same position as Augenthaler I played.

– Tommi, you've played almost in 400 matches in prestigious Finnish division, changed 5 clubs. But you never left Finland. You have never wanted to?

– I was not only changing 5 clubs, but positions as well. Still, I had not received an interesting invitation from abroad. And it was no sense to leave my homeland for not interesting ones.

– What season was the most successful for you in Finland championship?

– In 2004, playing for Lahti I scored 8 goals as a midfielder and was announced as the best one in Finland. That was a good season!

– And what is the most memorable match for Finland national team?

kautonen 03– No doubts – the game in Europe qualifications against Turkey national team in Istanbul. That was a great pressure with 40000 of Turkey fans supporting the opponent – a severe noise while the rival controlled a ball and a whistles they met our attacks! By the way it was very hard even before the game. We've lost against Northern Ireland with 0:1 and Finnish press was very critical about our chances in Istanbul. But, that were we who won, moreover, with a confident score - 3:1. After the game fans never whistled, they applauded. Those were the best football memories in my life.


Interviewed by Marianna Belinskaya and Alexander Kuzmin.


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