MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. Russian squad cannot be reproached for their performance at the 2016 IIHF World Championship despite a loss in semi-final against Finland, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Saturday.
Team Finland defeated 3-1 the Russian national ice hockey team in front of their home crowds on Saturday afternoon in the Russian capital of Moscow and will be playing for the gold of the 2016 IIHF World Championship on Sunday.
"As usual, it is hard to comment on a loss," Mutko said. "Millions of people were crossing their fingers for the Russian national team. At least 12,000 spectators cheered the squad at the stadium. But Finland outplayed us. I cannot say that the guys were not willing to win."
"There were two penalties. Something went wrong but an enormous desire to win still existed," he said. "I feel we lacked good luck but all the same, the guys were doing their best throughout the championship and were playing as they could. Russia’s national team has nothing to be reproached for."
The Russian squad, who are the 2015 World Vice Champions, will clash for the bronze against one of the North American national teams - Canada or the United States, on Sunday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. local time (13-15 GMT), before the final match at 8:45 p.m. Moscow time (17:45 GMT).
This is the 7th IIHF World Championship held in Russia as it was hosted by Moscow five times, namely in 1957, 1973, 1979, 1986 and 2007, and once by St. Petersburg in 2000.