A Guide to the Finland Men’s Basketball Team

16 Aug 2023


The Finland men’s basketball team, known by their fans as Susijengi (‘The Wolf Pack’), hold the highest FIBA ranking of all the Nordic countries. Although they’re yet to claim a medal at a major international basketball tournament, they’ve qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup twice, made two appearances at the Olympics and featured in 17 FIBA EuroBasket tournaments. 

Discover everything there is to know about the Finland men’s basketball team with the help of this comprehensive guide from the team at Courtside 1891. 

2024 Olympics - Men's Basketball

The Finland men's basketball team are confirmed as one of the 24 nations that will compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, which you can stream live with Courtside 1891. The tournaments are currently scheduled for July 2-7 2024. 

Four places remain to make up the twelve-team field that will compete at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic basketball events will take place between 27th July and 10th of August 2024. The nations currently confirmed to participate are France (host), South Sudan, Serbia, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the United States.

From Europe, the competing Olympic qualifying tournament nations are Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Greece, Georgia, Poland, Montenegro and Finland.

Along with Egypt, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon are the competing African nations.

Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico advanced from the Americas region, following positive results at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will be joined by the Bahamas, who shocked Argentina in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in La Banda, Argentina.

From Asia and Oceania, the teams that advanced were Lebanon, the Philippines, New Zealand and Bahrain.

How Did Egypt Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023? 

​​Here are the key stats from Finland's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign: 

  • Final Standing: 21st
  • Results: Played 5 Won 2 Lost 3
  • Top Points Scorer: Lauri Markkanen 124 PTS (24.8 PPG)
  • Top Assist Provider: Miro Little 23 AST (4.6 APG)
  • Most Efficient Player: Lauri Markkanen 24.0 EPG

Given their flying qualifying form, Finland was fancied to make more of a splash at the World Cup. But a 0-3 Group E record was a shock to the system before the Scandanavians recovered to rout Cape Verde and Venezuela in their two classification games. 

Star player Lauri Markkanen put up big numbers as the focal point of the team, averaging nearly 25 points along with 8 rebounds. Unfortunately for Finland, his shot wasn't falling from 3, shooting 25%. He missed all 6 of his attempts against champions Germany in the group phase before improving to help Finland finish on a positive note and give them a shot of playing at the 2024 Olympic Games when the qualifiers come around in the summer of 2024. 

Enjoy Lauri Markkanen's dominant 32-point performance against Venezuela, below

Lauri Markkanen - Game MVP - Finland v Venezuela

Team Presentation Video

2023 will mark Finland’s second appearance at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Before the tournament kicks off, check out our handy Team Discovery Video, which works as the perfect primer. 

Team Presentation - Finland - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 


Finland World Cup Qualification

Finland’s qualification campaign for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup started in Group C. Here they were drawn alongside Sweden, Croatia and a much-fancied Slovenian side, who were ranked seventh in the world by FIBA. 

Finland lost their first game against Sweden in Stockholm. From here, the side turned up the heat, winning all five of their remaining games, including back-to-back victories over Slovenia. They ultimately topped the group with a 5-1 record. 

In the second and final qualification phase, The Wolf Pack were drawn in Group J, alongside Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, Israel and Estonia. Here, they kept up their momentum and went 4-2. This was good enough for second place in the group (behind Germany) and qualification for the World Cup.

Best World Cup Qualifying Plays 

During qualifying, Finland were ably led by Sasu Salin, Mikael Jantunen and Elias Valtonen, who played in all 12 of the team’s games. They were joined by Edon Maxhuni and Topias Palmi, who both featured in 10 games. 

As the qualification phase overlaps with the NBA season, Finland’s star player, Lauri Markkanen, only played in four games. However, in this short spell, he proved his NBA level talent and desire to be the team’s go-to option. . Across qualifying, he led the team in points per game (21.8), rebounds per game (9.0), +/- (+10) and efficiency (23.5). 

Keen to discover more about Finland’s style of basketball? Watch the side’s Top 10 plays from the qualifiers below. Alexander Madsen’s dunk against Estonia is impressive, but Markkanen’s game-winning three-pointer against Croatia is next level!

Best Plays - Finland - FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023

Current Star Players 

Basketball Finland, the team’s governing body, announced an extended roster for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 back in July, headlined by Lauri Markkanen. As well as excelling in the four qualification games he featured in, Markkanen has been a star of the Finland basketball team for the past couple of years. At FIBA EuroBasket 2022, he memorably poured in 43 points to lift The Wolf Pack past Croatia in the round of 16. He then almost made enough plays to take them past Spain, the eventual champions, in the quarter-finals. 

Markkanen, a 7ft power forward, has just come off a sensational All-Star season in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, where he also earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. He was joined on the roster by captain Sasu Salin, who is the only player in the squad who also took to the court at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014. Salin missed the climax of Lenovo Tenerife’s domestic season, returning close to the end of the campaign, to prove his fitness ahead of Finland’s World Cup run. 

The roster was also packed with other exciting names, such as 23 year old, Mikael Jantunen, who hit a put-back game-winner in front of a record (13,504 attendees) crowd during Susijengi’s recent World Cup warm-up win over Lithuania. Finnish basketball fans have other young names coming through to get excited about.

Miro Little (19) and Edon Maxhuni (25), both excelled at EuroBasket 2022. Plus, the extended roster included a couple of NCAA players. Forward Olivier Nkamhoua made the final cut, while young center Federiko Federiko will be hoping to take part in the Olympic Qualifying tournament. 

Legends of the Team 

Many players on the current Finland roster are fan favorites. However, one name currently stands above all others in the pantheon of greats: Petteri Koponen. 

A talented playmaker who could play at both guard positions, Koponen was a near ever-present for Finland over the years. He represented the side at a number of top tournaments, including four editions of Eurobasket and the 2014 World Cup. 

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2007 NBA Draft. However, he never featured in the NBA and his draft rights were traded to Portland and then Dallas. He’s since played for a host of top European teams, including Barcelona and Bayern Munich. 

Historical World Cup Performance

Finland has only competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup once, back in 2014. In their five group games at the tournament, they only won one (81-76 against Ukraine). They ultimately finished bottom of their group, with a 1-5 record and endured a particularly harrowing defeat at the hands of the United States, who beat them 114-55 in their opening game. 

After failing to qualify in 2019, the Finland basketball team will be looking to make up for lost time at the 2023 edition of the tournament.  

Previous Successes and Tournament Wins 

Finland has also only made two appearances at the Summer Olympic Games. They made their debut at the tournament in 1952, when they hosted the competition. They also appeared in 1964.

Finland has, however, made 17 appearances at FIBA EuroBasket, including every edition since 2011. They’ve not yet claimed a medal at the competition and their highest finish was sixth, which came when they were the hosts in 1967. 

How to Watch Finland Men's Basketball 

With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can watch Finland compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (FOQTs) 2024. We stream every game of FIBA international tournaments as well as other competitions from around the world. 

As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page. 

The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.

Looking for the latest results from the world of basketball? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll also find matchup times in your country as well as easy-to-access game highlights you can watch when you register with Courtside 1891.