We had great expectations for 2016, with three major sports tournament: Euro Football in France, The Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, and World Cup of Hockey in Canada. In this post we summarize the sports year 2016.
Finland started the new year by winning the World Juniors of hockey. With future superstars like Patrik Laine and Sebastian Aho in the team, they beat their Eastern rivals Russia in the final.
In the IIHF World Hockey Championships in May, Finland once again reached the final, but got eliminated by Canada that won their second consecutive gold in the tournament.
The NHL was won by Pittsburgh Penguins which meant that Canada’s “golden boy” Sidney Crosby got his second Stanley Cup title as a captain.
Crosby also lead the Canadian National team to victory in the World Cup of Hockey in the fall. They beat Team Europa in the final. Many of us hoped for a dream final between Canada and Sweden, but Team Europa suprisingly eliminated Sweden in the semi-final. Crosby has now won Stanley Cup, The Olympics, World Cup of Hockey and the World Championships. Impressive!
The 2016 UEFA Championships in France offered us much entertainment as the best European National teams fought for the prestigious title. In the end, Portugal demonstrated that a good defense wins large tournaments when they managed to win the gold, even without injured superstar forward Ronaldo. Many of us enjoyed watching Iceland’s progress in the tournament. It was a surprise that they even reached the tournament at all, being a small island nation without much of a football tradition. However, they even excelled and advanced from the group stage. In the play offs, Iceland was put up against the English supreme power and most of us thought that this would be the end of their progress when England got the early lead. The tale continued though and Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck’s Iceland charmed us with the “Volcano” in an additional game.
Sweden did not manage to advance to the play offs and only scored one goal (an Irish own-goal) during three games. We are now looking forward to see what a new generation of players after Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with a new coach can do in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
The Olympic Games in Rio
Sadly, much of the Olympic spirit was blackened by doping rumors and suspension. Nevertheless, we got to see some great performances by the participating teams and individuals. In Sweden, we enjoyed the medals by our Olympic Queen: Swimmer Sarah Sjöström. Poster names like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah delivered entertainment when they won additional gold medals at the running tracks.