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Kelvin expects Jonsson and his team to claim the World Cup spoils

Kelvin Tatum Posted 13th July 2012 view comments

There has been plenty of rain in Sweden ahead of the World Cup Final but that should not dampen what promises to be a wonderful night.

The circuit is in really good condition and, if anything, the wet weather should allow the competitors to get more grip on the Malilla track.

The array of equipment the staff are able to call upon means they can manipulate the track into pretty much whatever shape they want, so unless we get 24 hours of incessant rain, we should see some top-quality riding.

Jonsson: Swedish skipper will make a big impact in the World Cup Final, says Kelvin

Jonsson: Swedish skipper will make a big impact in the World Cup Final, says Kelvin

Sweden were given automatic entry into the final and their knowledge of the course, as well as their quota of talented riders, makes them, in my eyes, favourites for the title.

They have finished third in the World Cup for the previous four years, but have a great chance to top the rostrum this time - especially if Andreas Jonsson fires.

Top man

The 31-year-old team captain has had an up-and-down season, but he had such a good second half to the Grand Prix series last year and will be extra determined, as leader, to do something special in the World Cup. I expect his performance to be key at the weekend.

Team manager, Bo Wirebrand, will have to make sure his Swedish charges have not switched off, but I'm sure they won't have.

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Freddie Lindgren could also be the team's top man as he is coming off the back of some stellar displays in recent Grand Prix meets, while the Swedes will be buoyed by a vocal home support.

Their only issue may be that they have had no racing this week; they have had to rely on practice, while everyone else has got stuck into competition. Team manager, Bo Wirebrand, will have to make sure his charges have not switched off, but I'm sure they won't have.

Australia weren't at their best in their heat on Monday night but were able to overhaul an inspired Great Britain in King's Lynn.

They came under a lot of pressure and had to use their "joker" early, but their winning mentality saw them over the line.

Troy Batchelor struggled a bit in Britain and if the Aussies stay with the same team he will have to up his game as the final will be a lot tougher than the heat. Batchelor may be replaced by Darcy Ward, though I'm not sure the latter will have recovered from injury in time.

There are some big names in the Australia line-up, like Jason Crump and Davey Watt, but I don't see a clash of egos materialising.

Crump is based near the Swedish venue and the team spent some time around his house on Thursday, so they seem to get on quite well. The bottom line is that you don't ride with a partner so all you need to do is focus on getting as many points as you can for yourself.

Standout

Denmark, meanwhile, have momentum after winning the race-off on Thursday night and, as the only side in the final to race twice this week, should have really hit their straps.

Michael Jepsen Jensen and Mikkel B Jensen - the 17-year-old who may be recalled for the final in place of Leon Madsen - look very confident at this level of speedway, which is not always the case as some inexperienced riders take a while to adjust.

This stage is where the veteran Grand Prix riders should rise to the occasion, but perhaps Denmark's youngsters will be the standout performers. With the experienced Nicki Pedersen as captain, the Danes will be a major threat.

Russia won their heat but that may have been down to their knowledge of the Bydgoszcz track, with Emil Sayfutdinov and Artem Laguta riding around it at domestic level.

The Russians were very consistent last Saturday but they will find it more difficult in Malilla, and I don't think they are quite strong enough to launch a title tilt - but they will be spoilers and take some points off other teams.

Sayfutdinov is a rider that can definitely get amongst it and he is maturing nicely; he hasn't been in the sort of form we saw him in a couple of seasons ago but he is definitely moving in the right direction. I think he enjoyed leading his team in Bydgoszcz and put in one of the best performances I have seen from him this year.

The Russian could earn even more plaudits on Saturday - but I expect Sweden to be the ones lifting the World Cup trophy come the end of the night.

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