PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Fans and media in Sweden wasted no time in slamming their top-seeded team after an embarrassing 4-3 Olympic exit at the hands of Germany, who recorded a shock overtime win to send the Scandinavians packing from the tournament on Wednesday.
The Three Crowns, as they are known in Sweden, expected to cruise through their quarter-final clash but found themselves two goals down, eventually getting back to 3-3 before the Germans went on to book a semi-final berth.
“It’s a fiasco, we probably should be in the semi-finals with this team”, Sweden’s former great Peter Forsberg, who won Olympic gold twice, said during Kanal 5’s broadcast of the game.
“Fiasco” was also the banner headline on the website of newspaper Expressen (www.expressen.se) in the immediate aftermath of the result, while Aftonbladet went with “Three Crowns fiasco complete - knocked out by Germany.”
State broadcaster SVT went with the same headline, while Radiosporten plumped for: “Fiasco: Three Crowns knocked out in quarter-finals.”
On social media, one Aftonbladet reporter even blamed Sweden’s bad luck on King Carl Gustav, who attended the game and also saw the country’s cross-country relay teams narrowly miss out on a gold and bronze medal earlier on Wednesday.
Fans on Twitter wasted no time in calling for the head of coach Rikard Groenborg after one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of the hockey-mad nation, who have twice been Olympic champions.
“Groenberg is too damn boring. It’s not strange that half-bad players get even worse,” one user posted.
“I think one can demand more of all the players and coach Groenberg,” wrote another. “I feel a terrible emptiness over a loss like this. It’s a FIASCO for Swedish hockey.”
Sweden goaltender Viktor Fasth had a similarly angry reaction to the result, smashing his stick in the player’s tunnel as he left the ice.
“It feels terrible, we created copious chances but it didn’t work,” winger Oscar Moeller told reporters before hitting back at criticism of the team.
“Newspapers and the media can write what they like, we did our best,” he said.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor; editing by Ken Ferris