St. Gallen, Switzerland, May 6, 2018- Sweden were crowned champions of the IFF U19 Women’s Floorball World Championships for the sixth time, after overcoming an early deficit to humble bitter rivals Finland and seal an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal. It is also the third straight tournament where this fixture has been contested in the final, with runners-up Finland coming up short against their old rivals once again.
Free scoring Sweden had scored 66 goals en route to the final, conceding a mere six, and they had not fallen behind at any time, but they did so on the big occasion which raised the eyebrows of all in attendance. Milja Saarikoski fed Julia Woivalin, who tapped home inside the third minute to put Finland in front and stun the Swedes early on.
The early concession served only as a wake-up call to Sweden as they upped their early intensity in search of an equaliser, but were left frustrated by Finland’s last gasp defending. But with all the craft, quality and industry of Sweden for creating goals, their pressure yielded its reward before too long, Cajsa Elm receiving Madeleine Karlsson’s pass and finishing coolly to restore parity. The spell that followed was the tightest of the final, both rivals enjoying a premium of chances, but Finland gave Sweden the lift they needed to go on by gifting them a penalty shot right before the break, which Frida Swahn duly accepted, emphatically firing in beyond a helpless Elsi Kangasharju to go ahead.
Sweden were in no need of a gift, and it gave them the lift they needed to find another gear, Lisa Svarfvar sent clear down the right just after the break and she fired in for 3:1, before Jasmiina Jarvinen halved the deficit for Finland shortly after in what proved mere temporary respite. MVP Ellen Backstedt added a double to propel Sweden to 5:2, before the excellent Frida Swahn fired in her second and Wilma Johansson confounded Finland’s final misery with a seventh 12 minutes from time.
The full-time klaxon sparked celebrations on the Swedish bench and in the crowd, as they became the first team to be crowned champions three times in a row, the Number One seed continuing to amass more milestones and write history, and this latest title may be one of their most impressive at U19 level to date.
“It’s an amazing feeling”, elated MVP Ellen Backstedt said after the game. “I didn’t know that this meant we were the first team to win three in a row! But it just feels great to bring another title back to Sweden”.
“Yes, we have come here and beaten many teams well, but it isn’t just a case of winning titles being business as usual, we have to work hard and be at our best to be as successful as we are, and we’ll carry on doing so”.
U19WFC 06.05.2018 Sweden