Sweden has experienced historic bankruptcy: for the first time in 84 years, the eleven-time world champion is not in the top eight at the World Cup.
After the historic debacle of the successful “Drei Kronen”, the Swedish media rolled over the exaggeration. The word “failure” alone was not enough to describe the incomprehensible. “The biggest failure of modern times,” said former national player Jonas Andersson on the SVT TV channel in the qualifying round of the eleven-time ice hockey world champion at the World Cup in Riga.
Ice Hockey World Cup in Riga: Sweden not in top eight for first time in 84 years
For the first time since 1937, when the British competed as defending champions(!), in London, “Trey Kronor”, the pride of the ice hockey-crazy country, missed out on the top eight. The team, which won a total of 47 World Cup medals and gold three years ago, traveled home after being beaten 3-2 by Russia after a penalty shoot-out before the knockout rounds began. In a media thunderstorm, the main aim of which was national coach Johann Garpenlov.
According to many experts, the 53-year-old is to blame for the “failure”, which was either “absolute”, “historic” or even “the greatest ever”. “Everything” has to change now, demanded Bengt-Ake Gustafsson, who led Sweden to gold medals at the 2006 Olympics and World Championships as coach: “We really have to get it under control now.”
Despite the World Cup: Johann Garpenlov should remain coach
The question about the future of Garpenlov, who had been promoted to head of the gang only two years earlier, was the most frequently asked question. “I want to move on, but I’m not the one to decide,” said the former striker, who won two gold and one silver as a player in three World Cups.
The Olympic Games in Beijing in seven months should really be his next assignment. If it is up to the people responsible in the association, they should also take notice. “Basically, we have great confidence in Johann, we have a good image of him,” said the association’s president, Anders Larsson. Secretary-General Johann Starck explained that due to the cancellation of the coronavirus last year, “it was his first World Cup, under very special circumstances”. However, the performance is “not acceptable”.
“I say fail”: Garpenlov takes a realistic view of the World Cup
Garpenlov himself spoke of a “huge failure for me as a coach and for us as an ice hockey nation” and knows what to expect over the next few days: “This is how it works in this business. Is: If you result, they’ll leave you and the bar.” But the coach didn’t want to use the most commonly used word. “Whether you call it a failure or a failure – you can choose,” he told reporters, “I say: fail.”
The historical ending didn’t come as a complete surprise in the end, even though Gustafsson called it a “sensation.” Because the pressure was “enormous” after embarrassing early defeats against Denmark (3:4) and Belarus (0:1), striker Viktor Olofsson, one of only five NHL professionals, said: “We found ourselves in the first shot. Found in the foot in both games.”
Canada afraid of progress after losing penalty shootout
Sweden looked to be back on track after a 7–0 win against Switzerland, but a 2–4 win against the Czech Republic added to the pressure. A victory against record world champions Russia was necessary, but nerves failed in the penalty shoot-out.
Canada is also worried about a place in the quarter-finals. The 26-time world champion progressed from a showdown in Group B to a 2:3 (1:0, 1:1, 0:1, 0:0, 0:1) penalty shootout against defending champions Finland in the evening. Between the German national team and hosts Latvia (7.15 pm / game 1).
First World Cup out: Is Canada writing sad history?
If the evening game does not go into overtime, Canada will be in the knockout round. Otherwise, the selection from the ice hockey homeland would end prematurely – and not in the top eight for the first time in World Cup history. A single point against Latvia would be enough to propel the German team forward.
The Canadian took the lead twice following goals from Brandon Pirie (2nd) and Maxime Komtois (29th). But Artu Rutslainen equalized every time (22./56.). Rutslainen also converted the decisive penalty. +
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Switzerland finished the preliminary round against Great Britain with 6:3 (2:1, 4:1, 0:1). The Swiss, who had already qualified for the knockout rounds, have finished at least second in Group A. (Sid / Spade)