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Sweden reclaim the title of U19 World Champions – 04.05.2014

The gold medal match in Zbaszyn, Poland was played in front of an overflowing full house, and after a disappointing 3rd place in 2012, the Swedes returned to the World Champions throne with a 6-4 win over defending champions Finland.

The match started off with both teams trying their utmost to avoid making any mistakes. The Finnish had apparently built a strategy to deny the Swedish any control of the ball, so the Finns attacked quite carefully and took shots only in clear situations. Surprisingly, the Swedish did not forecheck that actively, so the Finns could keep the control of the ball.  The All-Star defender My Kippilä, made her trademark move, bringing the ball up the left side of the court, feinting to shoot but then instead making a cross-court pass to her right, where Oona Kauppi had been forgotten by the defence and could gracefully score 1-0. Gradually, the Swedish got more into the game and Ellen Rasmussen was allowed to run with the ball from behind the Finnish goal to space right in front and score between the legs of a surprised Finnish goalie, making it 1-1.

The second period was only 30 seconds gone, when Finland’s first line, through a first-rate passing combination, was able to free Veera Kauppi to take the ball deep in the Swedish zone and with her pass, find her sister Oona in front of goal. Despite Finland trying to settle the match early, it was Sweden who began to take control of the game. They activated their physical defence and it paid off, the Finns could not find any more passing spaces. The Finns got a real set-back when Oona Kauppi injured her knee after 10 minutes of play in the second period. Sweden began to play on a thin line with the referees and took two penalties for pushing. The Finns powerplay was not able to create any real opportunities without Kauppi and Rasmussen stole the ball sailing through the field scoring the 2-2 goal for Sweden shorthanded, from a very tight angle. The Swedes continued to pressure the Finland defence while Finland began to drop back and play a much more passive defensive game.

The Swedes started the final period in a hurry. Like their first goal, the Finns again allowed the space for the Swedish forward to run from behind the goal and this time it was Ellinor Berling who found the net with the clock showing 41:33. Less than a minute later and a shot that wasn´t really a shot slowly rolled past the Finnish goalkeeper´s fully outstretched foot to give Sweden a two goal lead. It seemed the disruption of loosing Kauppi was proving too much for Finland.

The Finns were forced to try and press hard, giving All-Start team forward Amanda Johansson Delgado the possibility to break free and score the winning goal. With less than 4 minutes left in the match Finland changed goalkeeper. It had an immediately positive effect with Ella Holmberg scoring to give Finland a glimmer of hope with the score at 5-3. Still being two goals down the Finns were forced to look to the 6 v 5 advantage to score and took their goalkeeper out, but Marlene Lennartsson stole the ball and took a long shot to the empty net for 6-3.

Finland was still able to create a few situations and the Swedish defence was forced to take out a Finnish forward breaking through. The Finnish captain Kippilä made a remarkable penalty shot goal, but with only 45 seconds on the clock it was mission impossible for Finland. Throughout the match, the Swedish team had showed real fighting spirit and in they continued to deny the Finns any chances at goal, ensuring the gold medal and cup returned to Sweden. 

Best Players:
Sweden - Ellen Rasmussen 
Finland - Kristiina Järvinen