Finland get their first gold medal with a convincing victory

Helsinki-Finland, May 05, 2012: In the Final, Finland was looking for their first ever U19 WFC Championship and Switzerland was trying to repeat their success from Poland in 2008.

Quite unusual to any final, both teams tried actively to play forward when they had the ball in the first period, making it very enjoyable for the audience. Switzerland strived to capitalize on their fast openings, but Finland was able to steer the attacks to the corners. The game moved from side to side in attempts to gain advantage on the field. Finland, not surprisingly, continued on their chosen tactics from the victorious semi-final against Sweden, placing one player in front of the goal and shooting from far away. This gave a result when Juulia Peura took Finland to the lead with an accurate wrist shoot from the side.

In the second period, Finland took full control of the match and the gold medal, when first Mira Wickman, the tournament´s All Star centre forward, increased the Finnish lead after a well-placed pass into the slot and Senni Hietanen found some space beside the covered surprised Swiss goalie only a minute later, giving a 3-1 lead for the Finns. Astonishingly, the Swiss didn’t make any major tactical changes after Finland had taken the 3-0 lead. This suited the Finns excellently and they continued to control the events on the field. When they lost the ball to the Swiss, there was always four players returning instantly back into their own zone, forcing the Swiss to play with 2 against 4 in their offensive sector and giving the Finns a chance of quickly taking possession of the ball again.

Switzerland came all in, into the third period, starting forechecking high and was able to move the game into the Finnish zone. However, with the defenders staying far away at the midline, the Swiss forwards were out-numbered and the pressure, momentarily created, was often dissolved when Finland retook possession of the ball. Switzerland took their time-out with 7 minutes still to go and played the last three minutes of the match without their goalkeeper. The Swiss produced very good goal scoring situations, but in the end it was only Fabienne Walther who was able to place a flipper ball into the Finnish net. Finland took its first U19 World Championships with 3-1.

Hard work the key to success

The Finnish head coach Harry Virtanen thought that the main difference compared with the previous years is the hard work which has been done for promoting girls´ floorball in Finland:

– We played a disciplined game today and followed our own tactics. Plenty of work has been done in Finland during the past two years for developing girls´ floorball. In addition the clubs have been focusing more on women and the coaching has been of high quality. The physical capacity of the players is also one of the key factors and that was one of our main criteria when building our team.

And now it´s celebration time?

– Well, we are going to sit down together as a team and enjoy dinner. As you know the Finnish people don´t really know how to celebrate 😉

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