Czech ice hockey team defy odds to take gold at world championship
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players have scored a victory that will live long in the memory, taking gold at the World Championship on Sunday night after a thrilling final win over Russia. A Czech squad featuring several relatively unknown players defied the odds to take the trophy – sending fans around the Czech Republic into ecstasy.
In Sunday night’s epic game, the Czech Republic overcame a Russian side unbeaten in 27 outings to take World Championship gold for the first time since 2005.
The Czechs’ old foes did eventually get one back, but by then there was only half a minute remaining and Vokoun and Co. held out for an historic victory that few, if any, would have predicted.
“We were huge underdogs. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game for any of us, and it wasn’t [laughs]. But hockey’s a team sport. If anything we were not the most talented but we were probably the best team in the locker room, we have so much fun. We caught our breaks, you always need them…I’ve been on teams where we were, talent wise, by far the best team at the World Championship and we got knocked out in the quarter-finals. It’s great. The guys played hard, and it’s well deserved.”
Forward Jakub Klepiš, who got the opening goal on Sunday, improved as the tournament went on in Germany.
“It doesn’t matter how I played. All that matters is how we played as a team and we played unbelievably, that’s why we won. We were battling hard, working hard all together and we got the result. Right now I’m the happiest man ever. The feelings are going to come…right now I haven’t really realised it yet, but later I’m going to realise we’re the greatest team in the world this year. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”