HAMILTON, ONTARIO, SEPT. 5 -- The Canadian and the Soviet hockey teams, the glamour teams of the Canada Cup, finally will meet Sunday night at sold-out Copps Coliseum in the concluding game of the round-robin competition. If all goes the way organizer Alan Eagleson has planned it, the teams will meet three more times in the next 10 days.

Sunday's winner will be seeded first for the sudden-death semifinals Tuesday and Wednesday. The loser will finish either second or third, so there is no chance the teams will meet in the 1-4, 2-3 semifinals as they did in 1984, when the Soviets ranked first and Canada fourth.

Canada won that semifinal in an overtime classic, then swept a two-game final from Sweden in an anticlimax that aroused little interest.

The Canada Cup was devised as a means of bringing the world's two top hockey powers together at a time when all players are available. But the International Ice Hockey Federation has demanded a six-team format in exchange for its sanction.

In the first edition, in 1976, the Soviets sent a second-rate outfit and Canada wound up sweeping a two-game final from Czechoslovakia.

The only time the Soviets did face the Canadians in the final, in 1981, it was a one-game affair dominated by the Soviets, 8-1, a result that still produces embarrassment in Canadian hockey circles.

Sweden, the world champion that opened the current tournament by upsetting the Soviets, is considered most likely to spoil Eagleson's dreams of a best-of-three Canada-Soviet series this time, despite the loss of winger Kent Nilsson with a pulled hamstring. If the Swedes beat or tie winless Finland Sunday at Sydney, Nova Scotia, they will qualify for the medal round.

Later Sunday, also at Sydney in a game switched from Ottawa because of poor ticket sales there, the U.S. team will play Czechoslovakia. Unless the Swedes stumble earlier, the United States must earn at least a tie against the Czechs to advance.

Despite playing excellent defensive hockey throughout the tournament, the goal-poor U.S. team is threatened with elimination because it lost a tough, 3-2, decision to Canada and a more deserved, 5-1, contest to the Soviets.

"We've got to play hard, aggressive hockey against the Czechs, the same way we did against the Russians," said U.S. Coach Bob Johnson. "We also need to get a few bounces. We didn't get a single bounce of the puck against either Canada or Russia. We have to grind it out, no matter who we play. Let's face it. We have a couple of lines that aren't exactly flow lines."

"We have to stay disciplined and keep a good attitude," said Washington's Rod Langway, the U.S. captain. "We have no reason to be discouraged. Realistically, we've played the three best teams in the world our last three games and we've held our own. We won one {Sweden, 5-2}, should have won another {Canada} and played the Russians pretty tough."

Said U.S. goalie Tom Barrasso, beaten by the Soviets in his first game of the tournament, "Nobody said it was going to be easy. We've been underdogs through the whole thing. Losing to Canada and the Soviet Union is respectable. We haven't been embarrassed."

He need not worry about being embarrassed Sunday. Johnson will start John Vanbiesbrouck, who has permitted only six goals in three tournament games.