Source: Imago Images
Source: Imago Images

Latvia’s path to World Championship glory

Ice hockey Dins Davids Ozols 14.05.2024

With the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Ostrava now running in full swing, the Latvian national ice hockey team finds itself in a familiar yet exhilarating position. Having clinched two hard-fought victories in the tournament so far, the team is riding high on momentum, but the road ahead presents daunting challenges. Let’s take a closer look at their journey thus far and what lies ahead for the Latvian squad.

Last year marked a historic milestone for Latvia as they secured their first-ever bronze medal in the World Championship. The euphoria of that achievement still lingers, but now the focus shifts to the present challenge: defending their podium finish. With notable absences such as MVP goalie Arturs Silovs, the team looks to other key figures like Elvis Merzlikins, captain Kaspars Daugavins, and Rihards Bukarts to lead the charge.

What’s behind?

In their opening match against Poland, Latvia set the tone for what would become a pattern of thrilling comebacks and overtime heroics. Falling behind early, the team showcased resilience and determination, clawing their way back to a 5-4 victory with Daugavins delivering yet another clutch overtime goal, his third in World Championship history.

Highlights vs Poland:

The momentum carried into their second game against France, where once again, the Latvian faithful were treated to a nail-biting contest. Trailing late in the game, Latvia fought tooth and nail to force overtime, ultimately emerging victorious 3-2 with Daugavins once again sealing the deal in dramatic fashion. His knack for delivering when it matters most has solidified his legacy as one of the greatest clutch performers in tournament history. Furthermore, no one in IIHF Men’s World Championship history has scored more goals in overtime than Latvia’s captain, Kaspars Daugavins!

Highlights vs France:

What’s ahead?

Looking ahead, the Latvian team faces a formidable lineup of opponents in the coming matches. Already tomorrow, they square off against Kazakhstan, a team they dominated 7:0 in their previous encounter on May 20th, 2023. However, complacency is not an option as every game in the World Championship brings its own set of challenges. Our sportsbook sees Latvia as clear favorite ahead of the game at the odds of 1.37 compared to 2.95 for Kazakhstan.

The matchups against Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, and the USA loom large on the horizon, each presenting unique obstacles for the Latvian squad to overcome. However, they can do it, and we all know it. They’ve shown it already. How can we forget the emotional quarter-finals 3-1 win over Sweden, which was later followed by a historic 4-3 triumph over the USA for the bronze medals?

With every point crucial in the race for playoff positioning, every shift will be a battleground as Latvia looks to cement its status among the tournament’s elite. As the tournament unfolds, one thing is certain: the Latvian national ice hockey team embodies the spirit of perseverance and determination. Whether they can replicate last year’s historic success remains to be seen, but with players like Daugavins leading the charge, anything is possible on the icy battlegrounds of Ostrava.

Dins Davids Ozols

Dins is a self-raised copywriter whose burning desire for punctuality and correctness of texts has combined with a lifelong passion for sports. He's on a mission to provide OlyBet.TV visitors with content on current sports events. His favorite topics include major football leagues and competitions, NBA, and UFC.