World Juniors: It's a Finland v Russia Final

Published on 4-Jan-2016 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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World Juniors: It's a Finland v Russia Final

The local event organizers in Helsinki much be pinching themselves for their good fortune.

The IIHF World Junior Championship tournament couldn't have been scripted any better for them.

The pool groupings -- decided by IIHF rankings -- assured two natural rivalries in the preliminary stage in Canada v USA and Russia v Czech Republic.

And the host Finns rolled along to be sufficiently poised for dramatic bracket games. That's surely why the nation was fixated on its nightly newscasts.

Having disposed of Canada, the Finns packed the house against Scandi-rival Sweden, whose party they spoiled at last year's tournament. They were up to the task again:

The other semi-final featured irony.

Usually, it's the Russians who are known for finesse and the Americans who unleash power. Not this time, as exemplified by the Bears' discipline and bulldozer goals:

So, now the Finns will set their sights on a team from a country for which they still hold a grudge.

Finns hate Russians

Finland is the only country that's paid its war debts. It was a Nazi ally to begin World War II so it could fight against Stalin's USSR, even though it switched allegiances once the Soviets backed off.

But, as the meme confirms, resentment remains.

The puck drops on Tue 5 Jan at 20.30 gmt+2.

The Finnish fans will no doubt get psyched as only they can: