The first day with spectators at the Ice Hockey World Championships was an adventure, thanks to the approval process and requirement profile for those interested by the Latvian Health Authority. Tickets were only available on Tuesday, relatively shortly before the game – for those who have been vaccinated and those who have defeated the virus.
So in the afternoon, the stadium was as mournful as ever: when Finland beat Canada, players could greet fans with a handshake at the Grandstand in Riga, if it was allowed at this time. Four payers watched as the favorites Canada struggled to score a point. Then the Canadians began to tremble with the German team. With a 2–1 win over Latvia that evening, it prevented Canada from participating in the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time.
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Sweden went bad on the same day, they actually went home in fifth place. On the other hand, for the Germans, third in Group B, the tournament continues, with a match against Switzerland on Thursday (3 pm, live on Sport 1). Reaching the final was by no means a definite success, as there were actually about 1,000 Latvian fans in the stadium on Tuesday evening and national coach Tony Soderholm said: “The fans felt like an away game. All the players definitely enjoyed having the fans in the hall again.”
The fact that they had to play against a small background prompted the Germans more that it hindered them and it is also a sign of the mental toughness of the Söderholm team, which managed to get out of a difficult situation. After three victories at the start of the tournament, there were three narrow defeats – and a loss against the Latvian would have made the tournament unsuccessful for the Germans. In any case, WM
Before Germany’s game a Swiss tabloid newspaper now carried the headline: “Let’s go for meatballs. Germany, the accounts are now being settled. A great line for a sporting event, but a duel is a charge. There are two countries where professional hockey has taken off. Both sides got their first success, with the Swiss making the World Cup final twice, the Germans winning Olympic silver in 2018.
It is interesting to note that German successes propelled Switzerland: in 2010, the team reached the World Cup semi-finals with a 1–0 win over the Swiss. At the 2018 Winter Games, the Germans defeated their opponents 2–1 after extra time in the first play-off round. A small psychological benefit for Tony Soderholm’s players, who says: “We want to play against Switzerland with the same passion and calm mind with all the emotions. They play as hard as us and build their game on strong goalkeepers. We’ll be ready.”
No details yet on Marcel Knoebel’s case
On Wednesday it was uncertain whether everyone would be ready. Marcel Noables was investigated after injury in Latvia’s game should nothing leak before Thursday. Maybe his Sturmrhein colleagues from Berlin, Lukas Reichl and Leo Födrel, can find another man next to him. Isberen goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger said: “It will be tough against Switzerland. We needed Wednesday to get our bodies in the right mode.”
The game against Latvia took a lot of strength, and it was worth it – not just for the Germans: Canada’s ambassador to Latvia tweeted shortly after the Germans’ victory: “We’re still there!” Team Canada ignored the rifle assist on official channels and summarized that it would now continue against “ROC” in the quarter-finals. Only those who followed it understood the fact that all teams of Russia have to compete for four years under the signature of the “Russian Olympic Committee” in accordance with the requirements because of doping offenses, the national anthem cannot be played.
The Russians don’t care if they win against Canada. German players probably wouldn’t mind if they were allowed to sing the national anthem after the game against Switzerland. It is not deprecated.
– More about the Polar Bears national players in our Ice Hockey World Championship Diary, as recorded by Danielle Goldstein. Before the game against Switzerland, Lukas Reichl tells us what the atmosphere is like at the team hotel.
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