The Soviet Union, ignited by Sergei Makarov's go ahead goal, overcame a gutsy Team USA 4-2 in Saturday's first-round action of the World Hockey Championships.

Defending world champion Sweden beat Group A newcomer Poland 5-1 and Czechoslovakia and West Germany tied 3-3 in other games at Stockholm's new Globe Arena.Team Canada posted a 6-4 win over Finland, a surprising silver medalist in last year's Calgary Olympics, at Sodertalje south of the Swedish capital.

The young but experienced American team, manned by NHL and college players, neutralized the feared Soviet attack for almost 2 1/2 periods. But with the score tied 2-2, the speedy Makarov cut in from the right flank and beat University of Minnesota goalie Robb Stauber to the stick side 8:09 into the final session.

Dmitri Kvartalnov added an insurance tally with less than two minutes left for the Soviet Union, winner of a record 20 world titles since 1954.