Denmark are the 2006 Speedway World Cup Champions after a night of high drama in the Final at Reading's Smallmead Stadium.

Jan Staechmann's side eventually won the Ove Fundin Trophy by an eight-point margin but that hardly told the story of how fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout an incident-packed event - with the other rostrum places changing
on the very last bend of the last race.

Australia's Jason Crump, unbeaten from four outings, was taking a joker ride to protect second place for his nation, who had dropped six points behind for the first time - but he dramatically fell as he challenged Hans Andersen to allow Sweden into second position and Great Britain into third.

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But it was Denmark's night with Andersen and Nicki Pedersen leading them through the early stages, the pair dropping a single point between them from their first three rides.

There was, however, huge controversy when Andersen was excluded from Heat 18 after being adjudged as the cause of a fall for GB's Chris Harris. The Danish camp protested vehemently but the decision stood, and that gave Australia in particular fresh hope.

But they too were denied by an exclusion light as Travis McGowan was thrown out of Heat 21 after slight contact on the first bend with Antonio Lindback caused him to fall - and the complaints of team boss Craig Boyce left the
referee unmoved.

Lindback and captain Andreas Jonsson led the way for the Swedes, even though Jonsson was moved back into third place in his joker ride. That saw him hook up with Nicki Pedersen down the main straight in what could have been a
frightening incident, but fortunately the riders separated at speed and raced on with Pedersen taking the place.

British captain Scott Nicholls picked himself up from a spectacular three-way tumble involving Todd Wiltshire and Fredrik Lindgren in Heat 3 to turn in a superb performance for his nation, winning three races and battling to second place in his joker ride on his way to the highest individual score of the night.

Denmark, Australia and Great Britain were split by just two points with four heats to go, but Niels-Kristian Iversen came up with a massive win for the Danes in Heat 22 as Ryan Sullivan ran a last, and Nicki Pedersen backed that up by taking Heat 23 to put his team five points clear.

Bjarne Pedersen clinched the title with his second place behind Peter Karlsson in Heat 24 as Australia took just one point from the final round of races.

Andersen said: "It's unbelievable. It was a real team effort, we have a young team and we deserved to win it.
"I'm just glad it didn't go all the way down to Heat 25, although if it had done I'm sure we would still have won!"

Swedish skipper Jonsson offered congratulations to the winners, saying: "I'm happy for the Danes, and the silver was good for us under the circumstances. Everyone did their best, we came for the gold but silver is better than
nothing."

Nicholls said: "It was a great night of speedway, we really wanted to win it but we made a bad start to the meeting and then rode our socks off to get back in. The team should be proud of their efforts."

DENMARK 45:
Nicki Pedersen 13, Hans Andersen 12, Bjarne Pedersen 9, Charlie Gjedde 6, Niels-Kristian Iversen 5.

SWEDEN 37:
Andreas Jonsson 14, Antonio Lindback 11, Fredrik Lindgren 5, Peter Karlsson 5, Mikael Max 2.

GREAT BRITAIN 36:
Scott Nicholls 15, Lee Richardson 7, Mark Loram 7, Chris
Harris 4, Chris Louis 3.

AUSTRALIA 35:
Jason Crump 12, Leigh Adams 8, Todd Wiltshire 8, Ryan Sullivan 4, Travis McGowan 3.