Zurich (from our correspondent) – The Czechs quickly banished the bitter memory of the last meeting and the 4:5 defeat. After three days off from the match, they immediately got into the swing of things, they led 3:1 at the break and did not let the Czech coaches Radomír Mrázek and Karl Ševčík get within range.
Perhaps the Czech team can’t learn from the number of expulsions, Josef Rýpar was guilty twice. “It’s a big topic. We conceded six penalty minutes again, we can’t afford that on the final weekend,” Joonas Naava, the Finnish assistant for the Czech team, is clear.
“That’s terrible. The referee warns us that he will send off for pushing. Well, we’ll kneel there. That could be revenged on us,” even shooter Marek Beneš didn’t understand.
A few minutes after the quarter-finals, the thoughts of the players and coaches were already heading towards the semi-finals. “Now the tournament basically starts for us,” says Beneš. The composition of the elite four is standard: Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Czechia. Only the composition of the pairs is unusual, the Czechs will meet the Swiss for the final after 18 years, they also succeeded in Zurich in 2004 and won the historic silver.
The home team defeated the favored Finns in the group, but they struggled here with Norwegians and Latvians. On Saturday, they will be driven by the packed SwissLife Arena, a great atmosphere awaits. “We were all looking forward to this. But we’re not going to enjoy it, we want to steal this big party for ourselves,” declared Naava’s assistant.
“We play floorball because of such matches. We are not hockey where several thousand people go every game,” says Beneš, who, by the way, started out as a hockey player. He knows well that the home environment can be treacherous. “We experienced in Prague that the atmosphere energizes the team, but it can turn into nervousness. Especially if the beginning doesn’t go well,” he reminds.
The Swiss have something to give back to the Czech team. He robbed them of the bronze medals at last year’s World Championship, and the last match between them on the Euro Floorball Tour also ended in defeat for the country of the Helvetic Cross.
“We feel a great chance. We can see from the results with the elite teams that our game is going up, we no longer have to rely only on breaks and the goalkeeper, although of course he has to hold us. And the Swiss already know that we are a better team, they try to keep the ball, to throw us. What we did a few years ago against the Swedes and Finns,” observed Beneš.