MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey team will have no problems on Saturday defeating Finland in the semifinal match of the 2019 IIHF World Championship, Vyacheslav Bykov, a former head coach of the Russian squad, told TASS on Friday.
The Russian national ice hockey team roamed undefeated into the playoff stage of the 2019 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship.
Russia also defeated the United States 4-3 in the quarterfinals match on Thursday to meet in the semifinals with Finland, which later that day ousted reigning World Champions Sweden 5-4 in the overtime period.
"They simply need to be organized, attentive and disciplined," Bykov, who was the head coach of the Russian national ice hockey team in 2006-2010, said in an interview with TASS.
"We know well the Finnish national team and this squad is made up of players from the national championship," he continued. "This team, however, is very talented and fast with its own unique character."
"I don’t think that the Russian team will have problems advancing to the final with its current level of play," Bykov stated. "I also don’t think that our team is likely to allow goals [in their net] in the closing minutes."
"The Finns are usually scoring goals in the closing minutes because they are either trying to catch up or to achieve some success," he said. "I believe that our players have enough skills and experience to realize clearly that a [missed] goal attempt or a mistake in a semifinal match would cost dearly."
"I also believe that with a decent play our team will have no problems, particularly in view of what our guys showed in the quarterfinals match [against the United States]," Bykov stated. "The play of the national team keeps progressing and we will see them playing much better in the match against Finland."
The match between Russia and Finland is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. local time (16:15 Moscow time) at the over 10,000-seat capacity Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava. Later on Saturday, Canada will take on the Czech Republic in the other semifinal of the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
The 2019 IIHF World Championship is hosted by Slovakia between May 10 and 26. The participating teams were divided into Groups A and B. Group A played matches in Slovakia’s Kosice and included hosts Slovakia, Canada, the United States, Finland, Germany, Denmark, France and Great Britain.
Group B played matches in Bratislava and enlisted teams from Sweden, Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.
Canada finished in the top of Group A with 18 points and was followed by quarterfinalists Finland (16 points), Germany (15 points) and the United States (14 points).
Group B was swept by Russia with 21 points (seven straight wins). The Red Machine was followed by the Czech Republic (18 points), Sweden (15 points), Switzerland (12 points), Latvia (nine points), Norway (six points), Italy (two points) and Austria (one point).