Finland takes revenge on Canada after narrowly losing the final a year ago. The ecstasy of the hosts knows no bounds.
The Finnish national ice hockey team’s fourth World Cup victory couldn’t be more emotional. When Olympic champion Sakari Maninen blasted away for the world title in Tampere on Sunday night, Prime Minister Sanna Marin didn’t stop either. Along with another 11,486 spectators in the arena, the 36-year-old succumbed to the collective cheer after a 4:3 scene after extra time against Canada and shortly afterwards sang the national anthem loudly. Germany was eliminated in the quarter-finals by the Czech Republic.
“Having the gold medal around your neck in your stadium is the best feeling ever,” said top scorer Maninen after his goal in the seventh minute of extra time. The last time Sweden managed to win the World Cup in front of their fans was in 2013. “I have no idea what happened there. I just watched the goal and enjoyed the moment,” defender Sami Watnen said. It was only clear to him that this was going to be the start of a long night: We’ll start with the beer and then see how it ends.”
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A year ago, Finland, who is currently in world ice hockey, lost the World Cup final to Canada in Riga, at that time also after extra time. 15 Olympic champions from Beijing, bolstered by some NHL stars, now have their revenge — with a delay. The Finns felt they were the world champions at home until 132 seconds before the end of the regulatory time, before two late goals by the mighty Canadians once again raised doubts. “I’m just empty. I really feel all the emotions I have,” Maninen continued, after using a controversial penalty against 27-times champions Canada on a pass from superb Mikael Granlund to score the winner.
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Finland and Canada have met in the finals four times in the past six editions. As in 2019, the Finns triumphed in their national sport. In addition to Maninen and Granlund, who scored twice in the final, national coach Jukka Jalonen and captain Valtteri Vilpola can now feel like national heroes. After 2011 and 2019, Jalonen is now a three-time world champion coach, Trahiner is an Olympic champion and has long enjoyed cult status.
Captain Vilbola has also been entered into the Elite Triple Gold Club, which is open to all players who have won at least one Stanley Cup, one Olympic gold medal and one World Championship trophy each. Despite all the world class players Finland have already introduced, the 38-year-old striker is the first Finn to do so. (dpa)
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