Nordic Championships - Overview

[ History | Palmares | Countrywise list of winners | Medals classification | Annual champions | Alltime table | Acknowledgements | Nordic Championships (Women) -- link to separate file ]


Nordic Championships emerged on a Danish initiative. After World War I, in 1919, the contract of two annual matches each between Denmark, Norway and Sweden expired.
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.

Countrywise list of winners

Sweden          9
Denmark         3
Finland         1
Norway          1

Medals classification

                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

Annual champions (unofficial)

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.


Sweden         20
Denmark        13
Norway          6
Finland         2

Alltime table

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


Special thanks go to (in alphabetical order):

About this document

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
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All rights reserved.