Fredrik Lindgren led his Swedish team to victory, securing their place in the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup.
They won Event 2 with 37 points, and will join Poland and Great Britain in the final on Saturday at Leszno, Poland. Russia ended the event in second with 30 points, sending them through to the race off on Friday. It was more of a struggle for Latvia, as they trailed behind in points for the majority of the event. They played the Joker for double points, but even that saw them sitting in last place heading into the final four heats.
But Latvia prevailed, throwing four time Ove Fundin Trophy winners Denmark out of the competition, when Andzejs Lebedevs beat Niels-Kristian Iverson for third when the teams were tied on 28.
Although Lindgren was pleased that his team made it through to the final, he called on them to up their game on Saturday in order for them to win.
“It was entertaining for sure. I’m very impressed with all the teams tonight. Everyone was fighting for every point. The points were so close all the way through the meeting. We are really happy that we were able to pull it off in the end.
“We’re really happy to be in the Final. I know from before that when you go into the Final, all four nations are good. On the night, anyone can win.
“We’re going to go there with a positive feeling. Even though we got the result tonight, I don’t think we performed to 100 percent. I think we need perform a little bit better on Saturday to get a gold medal.”
Lindgren was disqualified after a crash in heat eight, but was delighted to end the night with two wins. His second win was vital, as it saw Sweden sail through to the final.
He knows that the Poles will be the favourites to win, but is determined that his team can lift the trophy for Sweden. Their last win was 2015, when Sweden won the final in Denmark.
“I don’t see us as the underdogs. Obviously Poland will be red-hot favourites on home soil, but I feel we have a lot of quality in our team.
“We have a couple of guys who are coming into some good form, myself included, and Antonio Lindback is really starting to ride at his best. If everyone can ride to their full potential, we’re in with a really good shot.”
The colour draws for the Race Off and Final have been completed by the FIM. Latvia line up in red at the Race Off with Russia in blue, Australia in white and the USA wearing yellow. Sweden have been drawn in red for the Final, with Poland in blue, Great Britain in white and the Race Off winners in yellow.
Event 2 scores
SWEDEN 37: 1 Fredrik Lindgren 10, 2 Antonio Lindback 11, 3 Andreas Jonsson 8, 4 Linus Sundstrom 8, 5 Joel Kling DNR.
RUSSIA 30: 1 Emil Sayfutdinov 10, 2 Grigorii Laguta 12, 3 Vadim Tarasenko 7, 4 Andrei Kudriashov 0, 5 Gleb Chugunov 1.
LATVIA 28+3: 1 Andzejs Lebedevs 15, 2 Maksims Bogdanovs 4, 3 Jevgenijs Kostigovs 4, 4 Kasts Puodzuks 5.
DENMARK 28+2: 1 Kenneth Bjerre 6, 2 Leon Madsen 6, 3 Michael Jepsen Jensen 7, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 9, 5 Frederik Jakobsen DNR.