In ice hockey there is no way to get around Finland. As before only Sweden in 2006, the Olympic champion also won the World Cup. Toni Soderholm describes the Finnish method as “unsurprising” but “effective”.
Even Prime Minister Sanna Marin wore a blue and white ice hockey jersey as a spectator in the World Cup arena and sang along with the national anthem.
As a home fan, national coach Toni Soderholm was touched by the great victory for his country. The Finnish ice hockey team’s fourth World Cup gold couldn’t be more emotional than 4:3 after extra time against record champions Canada. “If Finland wins the Olympics and the World Cup in a year, take your hat off. It’s unbelievable,” Soderholm said on Monday. “They did it in front of the home fans, with many saying there’s a lot of pressure. That’s a good confirmation of the journey they are taking.”
The last time Sweden managed to win the World Cup in front of their fans was in 2013. Only the Swedes have previously won in the 2006 Winter Games and the World Cup, and in the same year as well. As in 1995, 2011 and 2019, the Finns celebrated their national sport.
Söderholm: ‘Not surprising, but effective’
Despite only about 5.5 million inhabitants, Finland has developed into the current non-extra world ice hockey game. “Overall, they won the World Cup in 2019 with a team that had the worst name,” Soderholm said. “The fact that they won the World Cup was a huge boost.” For his German team, the World Cup ended in the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic (1: 4).
Former professional Söderholm emphasized collaboration in Finnish ice hockey as an important factor in his homeland’s success. “There is a statement from the federation that no matter which hall you go to, the same things are trained. It is cooperation at all levels,” said the 44-year-old, who previously called for a better promotion of talent in German ice hockey. : “It’s collective. It’s unsurprising, but it’s effective.”
shivering to the end
The final was spectacular in front of 11,486 spectators on Sunday evening in Tampere. With 132 seconds left in normal time, the hosts felt like home champions before two late goals from 27-times world champions Canada once again raised doubts. When Sakari Maninen scored the winning goal in the seventh minute of extra time, 36-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin was unstoppable.
Of course I congratulated the world champions, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö invited the team to his summer residence Gulranda. “Having the gold medal around your neck in your own track is the best feeling ever,” said Maninen, the top scorer. Like Maninen and two-time top scorer Mikael Granlund, national coach Jukka Jaalonen and captain Valtteri Vilpola can now feel like national heroes.
Finland and Canada have met in the finals four times in the past six editions. A year ago, Finland lost the World Cup final to Canada in Riga, and then after extra time as well. 15 Olympic champions from Beijing, bolstered by some NHL stars, now have their revenge. Soderholm said, “When NHL players come to the tournaments, they’re not the supporting players, but the team is the supporting factor. It’s a team job.”
For the first time, the Finns won a World Cup medal on home soil and could follow suit in 2023. Together with the Latvian capital of Riga, Tampere is the place once again. Germany is also expected to meet the world championships in the preliminary round in Tampere.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220530-99-480038 / 3