At least one Russian women’s hockey player believes it would take something miraculous to beat the U.S. at the Sochi Olympics.
Alexandra Vafina, who helped Russia to bronze at this year’s World Championships, seems resigned to the fact the host nation has no shot at beating the world champion Americans if they play in February.
“We can’t allow ourselves to let in more than 10 goals,” she told Russian news agency R-Sport.
The U.S. women last played Russia in a major international tournament at the 2012 World Championships, where the Americans won 9-0. The U.S. played five games en route to gold at this year’s World Championships with their largest margin of victory being five goals. Four of their five games were against 2010 Olympic gold medalist Canada and bronze medalist Finland, though.
Canada beat Russia 8-1 in the semifinals of this year’s World Championships in Ottawa. The U.S. and Canada have won every World Championships gold and silver medal since the first event in 1990.
Russia upset Finland for the bronze in Ottawa, its second medal ever to go with a 2001 bronze.
Vafina said Russia’s goal is still to make the final at the Olympics, which only one other non-North American nation has done (Sweden in 2006). The U.S. and Russia are in separate groups in the women’s hockey tournament, meaning they could not play until the single-elimination round at the earliest.