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Finland Books Final Berth at Turin Olympic Ice Hockey
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Finland blanked Russia 4-0 in the Olympic men's ice hockey semi-finals to set up a championship clash with Sweden, which trounced the Czech Republic 7-3 earlier Friday.


Teemu Selanne, Finland's forward, expressed his awesome feeling on reaching the final.


"We've played so well this tournament," he said. "Every player has played their part. That's the bottom line. It's great to be in the final, but we all know we have one game to go.


"We know we can be better. There is great chemistry in this team and it's such a great feeling."


There will be a first-ever gold medal match between two Scandinavian countries, which takes place on Sunday.


The Czechs and Russians will vie for a bronze medal on Saturday.


Finland has met Sweden 10 times in the Olympics, winning two games, losing five and tying three.


On facing Sweden, Finland's goalkeeper Antero Niittymaki said: "I don't really know what I am feeling right now, but we have to play great defense and hopefully get some power play goals."


"Good defending of the power play, that's the key."


Jere Lehtinen, also a forward, said: "We came here as underdogs, but we did good team work, playing all four lines, playing hard and skating hard. That's why we got here (into the final). It's going to be a big game against Sweden."


With one goal in the first period and two goals in the second, the Finns controlled the game while the Russians tried to start something in vain. In the third period, Finland put in the last shot, settling the match.


Sweden defeated the Czech Republic to advance to its first Olympic final since 1994.


(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2006)

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