Nordic Championships emerged on a Danish initiative. After World War I, in
1919, the contract of two annual matches each between Denmark, Norway and
After the Great War, European infrastructure was not suffiently effective and secure, which is why the Scaninavian FAs were quite reluctant to enter into bilateral contracts with other continental European FAs. The Netherlands had asked for a Danish visit in 1919, but the Danes did not oblige. Instead, the DBU chairman, Louis Østrup, approached his peers in Norway and Sweden with an idea of a formal, Scandinavian Championship for the three countries internationals' squad. However, the idea did not mature until 4 years later.
In 1923, DBU - the Danish FA - celebrated its 35th Anniversary. To conmemmorate this, DBU, NFF - the Norwegian FA - and SFF - the Swedish FA - negotiated and agreed to establish the Nordic Championships, which should run over 5 years. Each match counted pointswise. And, due to its Anniversary, DBU funded the very first trophy, for which the countries should play.
The first championship was a duel between Denmark and Sweden. In 10 matches, Norway drew once and lost the rest. Denmark won its own FA's trophy after the last and decisive match in the tournament, on 7th October, 1928 in Copenhagen. Had Sweden won, they would have left Copenhagen as champions, but instead Denmark landed a comfortable 3-1 (3-1) win and was afterwards cheered as Nordic Champions.
Throughout the years, during each Championship, various sources mention an annual, Nordic Champion. It is not clear whether these annual championships were in any way official.
In November 1929, SFF celebrated its 25th Anniversary, and instigated another Nordic Championship. This time around Finland also participated, making the championships truly Nordic (at that time, Iceland was a self-governing part of the Danish Kingdom). The trophy was now a large, golden cup. And now, the championship should run for only 4 years.
This championship was won by Norway after a very strong campaign. The decisive match was on 1st July, 1932 in Gothenburg, where Sweden was defeated by 4-1. Norway did not win the Nordic Championship again.
And now, Sweden took over. NFF governed the next championship and funded a new trophy. From the championships beginning in 1933 and until those ending in 1977, Sweden won them all.
The championships have varied in length. The longest period was 11 years, due to World War II. That championship, by the way, was instigated by SPL - the Finnish FA - and the trophy was a group of bears. After World War II, it was agreed that matches played in 1945 and 1946 should not count; therefore, the Championship did not end until 1947.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Nordic Championship became very popular in the Nordic countries and were central in the countries' efforts to prepare their international teams for occasional World and European Cup qualification matches. Mainly for historical reasons, especially the matches Finland vs. Sweden, Norway vs. Sweden and Denmark vs. Sweden were clashes that attracted large crowds.
In the late 1960s and in the early 1970s, the Nordic Championship lost in significance. Sweden, who participated in World Cup Finals and had a stable international appearance, tried to abandon the championships, as these occupied slots for other internationals with stronger opponents (as compared to their Nordic neighbours).
Danish soccer was revitalised in the early 1980s, and given the ever growing number of qualification matches at international level and with most international players playing in European top-clubs, it became difficult to schedule matches for the Nordic Championships.
Finally, in 1983 Nordic Championship was abandoned. The last match between Sweden and Norway, scheduled for Summer 1983 but without any influence on the ongoing championship as Denmark had already won, was agreed not to be played.
A new Nordic championship including also Iceland and the Faroes Islands was played in 2000/01 but turned out to be a one-off.
Years Winner Arranger Trophy Original Comments 1924-28 Denmark DBU Anniversary Trophy Jubilæumspokal DBUs 35th anniversary 1929-32 Norway SFF Golden Cup Guldkrus 1933-36 Sweden NFF NFF Trophy Nordiske Pokal 1937-47 Sweden SPL Finnish Bears Suomen Karhut WII hindered (*) 1948-51 Sweden DBU Vase Vase 1952-55 Sweden SFF Trophy Pokal 1956-59 Sweden NFF Adventure and Play Eventyr og Lek 1960-63 Sweden SPL Trophy Pokal 1964-67 Sweden DBU Football Players Fodboldspillere 1968-71 Sweden SFF Trophy Pokal 1972-77 Sweden 6 year Tournament 1978-80 Denmark 3 year Tournament 1981-83 Denmark 3 year Tournament 2000-01 Finland matches in Spain and indoor (*) This tournament commenced in 1937 and continued in 1938 and 1939. Hereafter the Second World War stopped the tournament. After the war, the 4 FAs mutually agreed that results from 1945 and 1946 should not count, which is why the tournament did not terminate until 1947.
Sweden 9 Denmark 3 Finland 1 Norway 1
1 2 3 Sweden 9 4 - Denmark 3 7 3 Norway 1 2 9 Finland 1 - 1 Iceland - 1 - ------- 14 14 13 NB: 3rd place 2000/01 not determined
1924 Sweden 1925 Denmark 1926 Denmark 1927 Denmark 1928 Denmark 1929 Norway 1930 Denmark 1931 Sweden 1932 Norway 1933 Denmark 1934 Norway 1935 Sweden 1936 Denmark 1937 Denmark 1938 Norway 1939 Sweden 1940-46 No Championship 1947 Sweden 1948 Sweden 1949 Denmark 1950 Sweden 1951 Norway 1952 Sweden 1953 Sweden 1954 Sweden 1955 Sweden 1956 Norway 1957 Sweden 1958 Sweden 1959 Sweden 1960 Sweden 1961 Sweden 1962 Denmark 1963 Denmark 1964 Finland 1965 Denmark 1966 Finland 1967 Denmark 1968 Sweden 1969 Sweden 1970 Sweden 1971 Sweden As the Nordic Championships no longer were decided in 4-year tournaments, the annual championships were abandoned. Total: Sweden 20 Denmark 13 Norway 6 Finland 2
1. Sweden 146 88 26 32 381 - 198 202 2. Denmark 147 75 23 49 323 - 218 173 3. Norway 145 52 31 62 265 - 300 135 4. Finland 137 21 24 92 150 - 401 66 5. Iceland 5 3 1 1 7- 5 7 6. Faroe Islands 4 0 1 3 2- 6 1 ----------------------------------------------------- 584 239 106 239 1128 - 1128 584 NB: 2000/01 matches counted as 2/win
Prepared and maintained by Lars Aarhus, Søren Elbech, and Heikki Pietarinen for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Authors: Lars Aarhus, Søren Elbech, and Heikki Pietarinen
Last updated: 21 Dec 2017
(C) Copyright Lars Aarhus, Søren Elbech, Heikki Pietarinen and RSSSF 1998/2017
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