Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latvia-Germany, 3:5

At 2:15am this morning, a substantial fraction of the country was glued to the TV sets for the decisive hockey game between Latvia and Germany. If Latvia managed to tie the game, we would advance to quarterfinals (because of our 4-1 win against Norway one day earlier).

Germany has been a difficult opponent for Latvia recently. I still remember 2002 Winter Olympics (also taking place in North America and also on after-midnight live TV in Latvia) in which Latvia's hopes for quarterfinals were dashed by bigger, more physical German players which succesfully pushed the Latvians out of their way on the ice. I was a bit afraid of something like that happening again.

I was right, but only partially. It looked like Germans were physically stronger and they won most of the battles near the boards. But Latvia scored first and they would find ways to use their skills to beat Germans again later. After 47 minutes, it was 3:2 Latvia. Just 13 more minutes and we could even allow one goal in and still make quarterfinals...

But, then, Germany scored three goals in 5 minutes. 5:3 Germany. The last minutes were full of penalties and included a fight between Latvians and Germans with almost everyone on the ice involved.

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