At the last WFC, Sweden was faced with an upset when the Czech republic beat them in the finals for the much-desired gold medal. In Brno, however, things can go down completely differently. Storvreta’s Emil Lindblom and Oscar Johansson from FBC Lerum discuss their goals for the upcoming WFC, what it means for them to represent Sweden and their preferred opponents.
How are you approaching preparation for the WFC? Has the pandemic caused you any obstacles?
EL: I have the privilege to practise as usual with Storvreta IBK because our league is fortunately still active. I can play as normal except without any spectators at our games of course, but the pandemic has not caused me any big obstacles generally.
OJ: We haven’t been that affected by the restrictions and have pretty much been training as we did before. EFT got cancelled and one of our camps has been cancelled as well because of Covid-19. But except for that, we have managed to have 3 camps together.
How big of a setback was for you the cancellation of the EFT in October?
EL: It was of course a big disappointment with the cancellation of the EFT because playing national games in the Swedish national team is one of the coolest things I have done so far in my career. We have had at least one camp together instead of the EFT and I believe it was a successful camp, both in terms of practice and how the team spirit has been improved.
OJ: I had been looking forward to the EFT and, sadly, it got cancelled. I was very excited to play our first international games with this team. It would have also been interesting to see how far the other countries have come in their journey and get answers on what we need to work on more.
The WFC will take place in the Czech Republic, which hosted the Men’s WFC only two years ago. Did you follow the latest men’s championship?
EL: Yes of course! It will be a dream come true to play a WFC in the Czech Republic and take the gold medal home to Sweden again.
OJ: Yes, I did. If I remember correctly, I watched all of Sweden’s games and the whole playoff. Personally, I think the WFC is one of the most exciting floorball events we have. To see the best players in the world compete against each other and the whole atmosphere makes it very inspiring and fun to see. It’s something you dream about and work for.
Regarding the previous question, what expectations do you now have towards the organization and atmosphere in Brno?
EL: It is always interesting to visit a new country and city. I am certain the organization will look after us and that they do the best they can, despite the Covid situation. I hope that it still will be possible to experience the atmosphere during the games and in the city.
OJ: I hope that it will be allowed to have an audience which can create a similar atmosphere as it was for two years ago when the Men’s WFC was held. My expectations for the tournament are that it will be well structured and organized.
What are your ambitions in the tournament?
EL: It will of course be an experience to play a WFC, but the only thing that is important to me is to win the tournament!
OJ: Our ambition in the tournament is of course to win! We are not there just to participate, we are there to win and to bring the title back home to Sweden. It’s also important to enjoy every game and the time you get to spend with your team.
What expectations do you have of the other teams? Who do you think will be your toughest opponent and/or the challenger for the gold medal?
EL: I must admit I don’t know that much about the other teams, but I met Finland last year in the EFT and they had many good players for the WFC. As always, Finland is the challenger for the gold medal, but I believe the Czech Republic also can be a tough opponent.
OJ: Finland, Czech Republic and Switzerland are all teams that I think will be good, especially Finland and the Czech Republic. I think Finland will be the toughest opponent if I had to choose one.
The group ballot draw will take place in December – if you could pick ideal group opponents, which teams would you choose?
EL: That is a hard question, actually! It does not matter, I think, because our goal is to give 100% and win every game in the tournament regardless of the opponent.
OJ: I would especially want Czech Republic in our group. This is because I’m friends with two players in the Czech Republic team and it would be very fun to play against them. I also think that the Czech Republic plays attractive floorball, which will make the games against them very fun.
For you personally, what it means to play at the Junior WFC?
EL: It will be a dream come true to represent Sweden in a WFC; it is something I have dreamed of since I started playing floorball.
OJ: It means a lot to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I followed the Junior WFC and it has been one of my biggest goals over the last few years. It’s such an honour to represent and play for your country. Getting the possibility to play Junior WFC is one of the biggest things you can experience during your whole career as a floorball player.