Today, I learned once more that:
As it happens every year around this time, one of the most ridiculous world championships is under way. During one week, eight countries are represented by their national teams to decide which one is the best in the world in a sport called bandy.
If you do not know what bandy is, think of it as a mixture of football (real football, not American, aka soccer), field hockey and ice hockey. From football has been taken the football ground, the 11-person team and the 2 x 45 minutes game time. Field hockey has contributed with the hooked stick. The size of the goals are intermediate between football and ice hockey, and ice hockey has contributed with the ice and skates. The only original thing with bandy is the small ball, extremely difficult to see if you are on the grandstands of a bandy game.
The international bandy federation (FIB), with headquarters in the Swedish city of Söderhamn, has 32 member countries, of which the eight teams highest on the international ranking participate in the supreme division to compete for the world championships title. They are divided into two groups of four countries each, with the four best in group A and the other four in group B. In three rounds, their is a round robbin where all teams meet the others once. After those games, the team in position 1 in group A plays team number 4 of group B, the second team in group A plays the third team of group B, etc.
And once more, for the fifth time in a row, everything points to a final game between Russia and Sweden, and a bronze medal game between Finland and Kazakhstan. The two first rounds of group A have resulted in scores of 9-1, 9-1, 11-4 and 10-2, with Sweden and Russia beating Finland and Kazakhstan.
So, why go through this weekly ordeal to end up with the same nations, Russia and Sweden, determining again who is the best in the world. Let them play a series of best-of-three games, one in each country and, if necessary, a third game in a neutral country.
Update 2016-02-07: It is always difficult to predict, especially about the future! Sweden underestimated Finland in one of the semifinals, losing the game with 3-2. Russia then beat Finland 6-1 in the final, and Sweden took the bronze medals.
… That’s what I learned in school!