Russia to face Finland in 35th IIHF World Championship final showing

Goals from Sergei Plotnikov, Sergei Shirokov and Anton Belov enabled Russia to come from behind to defeat Sweden, while Finland brushed aside Czech Republic 3-0.

Historically, Russia are the competition’s most successful team, emerging as champions 26 times, with 22 of those victories coming as part of the Soviet Union.

With 37 appearances in the final, only Canada have reached the last two on more occasions than Russia, but it will be the Finns who have the difficult task of stopping Olegs Znaroks’ men in Sunday’s gold-medal faceoff.

The Russians went into their encounter with Sweden as huge favourites after not conceding in their previous two games and winning all seven of their Group B matches, but were behind early on.

Par Marts’ side produced a marvellous start as Oscar Moller fired in the opening goal after just 19 seconds in the first period, but their delight was short-lived.

Plotnikov levelled with 13 minutes on the clock and they netted again towards the end of the opening period, with Shirokov putting Russia into the lead.

Belov rounded off the scoring in the 32nd minute, ultimately leaving Sweden with the task of battling Czech Republic for the bronze medal.

Finland reached the final thanks to a resounding win in Saturday’s second semi-final.

Having surprisingly seen off Canada 3-2 in the quarter-finals, Finland rarely looked in trouble against Czech Republic and Jori Lehtera sent them well on their way to victory with just under nine minutes played.

It was 2-0 thanks to a Jarkko Immonen penalty in the 32nd minute before Lehtera doubled his tally late on.

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