Latvian hockey team forward Rihards Bukarts, after the historic entry into the semi-finals of the world championship, reminded the legendary goalkeeper Artūrs Irbes live on Latvian Television and said that before the match he was ready to give his whole life to achieve this success.
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Latvian ice hockey players achieved one of the biggest successes in Latvian sports on Thursday, reaching the semi-finals of the world championship for the first time. Latvia defeated Sweden 3:1 in a breathtaking duel in the quarter-finals, which had never won in regular time during the World Championship.
Immediately after the game and the celebrations in “Arena Riga”, Rihards Bukarts recalled the words of the legendary goalkeeper Irbes after the victory in the 2000 World Championship match against Russia. At that time, after the principled victory over the star-studded Russian national team, Irbe said that he would have been willing to give half his life for such a success.
“I will say, as Artūrs Irbe said. I have lived on the planet for 27 years. He was ready to give half his life, I was ready to give my whole life. We have made such a historic success. But we did it for the people of Latvia, for the supporters of Latvian hockey, their fans Because they believed in us. When they believed in us, we believed in ourselves, and we knew what we were going for. There was no going back,” Richard Bukart said, controlling his emotions, adding after a moment. “Everything is still ahead. Everything is possible. Let’s get ready.”
The Latvian national team now has to play in the semi-finals on Saturday at 14:20 against Canada, which lost 0:6 in the first game in the preliminaries in Riga. The Canadians defeated the host Finland 3:1 in the quarter-finals, thus only Latvia remained among the hosts in the fight for medals.
“We will do everything in our power. We remember (the loss – ed.) and there is something to “take a chance on,” Latvian national team captain Kaspars Daugavins said live on LTV.
Daugavins emotionally thanked the Latvian fans, who were a big part of the achievement. “Simply thank you to all the people of Latvia for the huge support that is in the arena and outside. You push us forward. You bring us such emotions that we will never forget.”
“There is no one here, the whole team is fighting from the heart and enjoying every day,” says Daugavins. “We were not very nervous about the referees (controversial decisions and many rejections – ed.). We knew that in a normal game we would give back. In the end we were patient, we got the majority. We always believed that we would win. We said in the dressing room after the second period (the score was 1:1 at that time – ed.) – we just need to win one period, and we got it.”
Daugavins had already put an end to his career with the national team, similar to several of his colleagues in the national team. However, before the championship in Riga, Daugavins announced his return to the national team. “I’ve always been one to set high goals. I hope that’s not all, and I have the coolest day of my career ahead of me.”