Germany celebrate defeating Canada 4-3 in the semifinals

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Germany beats Canada 4-3 in Olympic semifinals

Canada mounted late comeback but to no avail

Germans last claimed Olympic ice hockey medal in 1976

CNN  — 

Germany stunned defending champions Canada 4-3 Friday to reach the men’s Olympic ice hockey final for the first time.

In a pulsating match at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, the 10th ranked Germans raced into a 3-0 lead and held on towards the end despite a spirited comeback from the much fancied Canadians.

Brooks Macek, Matthias Plachta, Frank Mauer and Patrick Hager all scored for the Germans who are now guaranteed at least a silver medal.

The “Eagle Carriers” will face the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Sunday’s final while Canada will play the Czech Republic for bronze on Saturday.

German team full of joy

‘We are fascinated’

No German team has medaled in hockey since the 1976 Games in Innsbruck when West Germany claimed bronze.

And the 2018 team’s achievements have captured the imagination of fans back home.

Tennis legend Boris Becker tweeted his excitement over the victory. “We are totally fascinated by the ice hockey team,” he wrote in German, “Who would have thought that before the tournament?”

Canada players react after losing 4-3 to Germany during the ice hockey semifinals at PyeongChang 2018.

Canada has won men’s hockey gold in the last two Winter Olympics, Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010, but was shorn of its National Hockey League stars in Pyeongchang given the league’s decision to not oppose participation in the Games.

Hockey-mad Canada’s female stars also suffered defeat Thursday against the USA in the a dramatic gold medal match.

That loss meant a Canadian women’s team failed to win gold for the first time since the Nagano Games of 1998.