Finland ended a 16-year wait with an upset of their arch-rival Sweden (6-1) in the ice hockey world championship final in Bratislava Sunday. The last time Finland won the cup was in 1995.
AFP - Finland's 6-1 victory over arch-rivals Sweden in the ice hockey world championship Sunday sparked instant celebrations from both the Finnish media and the victorious players.
"At long last it's true, at last it's true!" cried an emotional television presenter Antero Mertaranta in the final seconds of the match, broadcast on Finnish public broadcaster YLE.
"A 16-year wait is over!" he added, referring to the last time the Nordic country won the title 1995, when they also defeated Sweden.
Finland, an ice hockey powerhouse who have contributed some of the great names of the sport to the NHL such as Jari Kurri, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selaenne, have been in the finals eight times since 1990, with six silver medals in addition to the 1995 gold.
"It's incredible. People are always griping and criticising that Finns always lose in the finals," head coach Jukka Jalonen told YLE right after the match, adding: "We've waited a long time from the first gold in 1995."
Jarkko Immonen, who scored the equalising goal in the second period for 1-1, said that "we believed strongly in ourselves even when we were down 1-0."
"Finland is the world's best!" exclaimed the country's leading daily Helsingin Sanomat moments after the final whistle.
Team captain Mikko Koivu, brother of hockey legend Saku Koivu, admitted he didn't remember much of the match, but said this was the strongest team he's ever played on.
"Carrying that trophy to the team, I've never had a feeling like it," he told YLE.
Date created : 2011-05-16