At the hockey World Cup that was held in Latvia in 2021, the national team of Latvia was unable to advance out of the group stage. Will the athletes under Harijs Vitoli’s tutelage live up to expectations at the hockey World Championships in Finland?
In 2014, when the World Cup was held in Latvia, the country had high hopes for its performance. Bob Hartley’s charges won the first game with a sensational 2-0 victory over Canada, but that was the last time we heard of them.
They were defeated by the Kazakhs in a shootout in the very second game they played. After that, they won a hard-fought victory against the Italians. They went winless in the next four games, and as a result, they ended up finishing fifth in the group, which meant that they were eliminated from postseason contention.
After that, Bob Hartley’s time as head coach of the Latvian national team came to an end, and Harijs Vitolins was brought in to take over those responsibilities. It was under his leadership that the Latvian team became eligible for the Olympics in Beijing; however, they were unable to complete the competition.
The team struggled mightily to perform during the group stage, and as a result, they did not earn a single point across their three contests. They were eliminated from the Olympics competition in the round of 16, suffering a loss to Denmark by a score of 2:3.
Haris Vitolins is continuing his work even after suffering a setback in the capital of China. Prior to the start of the Championships in Finland, Latvia competed in six exhibition matches against other teams. First of all, they have won against the Frenchmen twice, once by a score of 1:2 and once by a score of 3:2, but they have lost both times against Switzerland by scores of 2:5 and 1:3.
In the month of May, Latvia defeated Kazakhstan on two separate occasions, 5-0 and 5-1. On the eve of the World Cup, the Latvian team should feel confident and upbeat as a result of these victories, which will give them a competitive edge.
Expert Betting Tips
At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Latvia did not perform very well. Their defense, in particular, was suspect, as they surrendered at least three goals in each of the four games they played. The teams that Latvia faced off against at the 2022 Olympics did not have any players from the National Hockey League (NHL), but the Czechs, Finns, Swedes, and Americans will almost certainly bring in players from North America for this World Cup. Even though Harijs Vitolins brought in Elvis Merzikins, he’s used to a more organized defense with Columbus, so he’ll have a hard time adapting to the national team’s style of play. In light of this, it is important to remember that it is in your best interest to investigate the possibility of placing a wager on the Latvian team allowing more than 20.5 goals.
Rudolfs Balcers, who played for San Jose last year and tallied 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in 61 games, will be Latvia’s main and only offensive star. This will be a problem for Latvia, which will also struggle offensively.
That about wraps it up! After Beijing, Miks Indrais, Kaspars Daugavins, and Lauris Darzins are all too worn out to participate, so they will not do so this time. It is difficult to speculate on who will steer the offensive for the Latvians when they play in Finland. It makes perfect sense to place a wager on a total that is lower than 16.5 in this scenario.
Because Latvia is a relatively weak team overall, it is imperative that Harijs Vitolins pay particular attention to the power play unit. As we saw at the Beijing Olympics, where his charges scored seven goals in four games, four of them on the power play (which accounts for 57% of the total), the coach is well aware of this fact.
Because we have a numerical advantage in Finland, we have reason to anticipate a high realization there; as a result, we have placed our wager on the total being greater than 5.5.
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