Neuchâtel, Switzerland, November 14, 2019 – The race for the WFC 2019 podium nears its conclusion, with two huge semi-final ties for Floorball fans to absorb on Saturday.
Elsewhere, the fifth to eighth classification bracket gets underway as the final rankings begin to take shape.
But what key games and duels should fans look out for on Super Saturday?
Hosts bid to reach final on home soil but Czech Republic stand in their way
Friday saw the Czech Republic ease aside Poland to advance into the last four where the Swiss lie in wait. The hosts have a 100% record at this year’s World Championship, and the dream of a gold medal on home soil is very much alive.
However, after Czech star Martina Repkova declared her side “ready” to rise to the challenge posed by the Swiss, their capabilities of spoiling the party cannot be underestimated. Repkova herself is just one flair player, while Michaela Mlejnkova, Tereza Urbankova and Denisa Ratajova all joined her on the scoresheet against the Poles.
Who succeeds is this semi-final will depend on how those players fare in key head-to-head duels. Corin Rüttimann, Michelle Wiki, Julia Suter, Nadia Reinhard and Isabelle Gerig have all performed superbly for the hosts, and if they can seize control of the game then there is always a chance of winning, particularly with home advantage. The hostile atmosphere is something that the visiting Czechs will have to adapt to if they are to crash the party.
Will Corin Ruttimann continue her historic goalscoring exploits?
Switzerland’s Corin Rüttimann is level at the top of the all-time leading goalscorers list at the WFC, having notched 47 alongside Denmark’s Cecilia Di Nardo. With the Danes’ campaign now over, Rüttimann has two games to take advantage.
Moving ahead decisively in terms of the personal accolade would be a wonderful achievement for the razor-sharp Rüttimann, but the host-nation will have two of their sternest tests to come. She will need to be at her best to manage it, but having delivered against strong opposition before, she will be primed and ready to make history.
A derby clash of the titans as 2017 champions and runners-up face off once more
Sweden cruised to victory over Germany on Friday to setup a semi-final blockbuster: a showdown with arch rivals Finland and a repeat of the 2017 final.
Matches between these two fierce rivals are often competitive, but with both sides in fine form and Finland desperate to avenge their defeat from two years ago, there will be a great deal of emotion riding on this game.
Tempering their desire to exorcise the demons of two years ago and channelling that onto court will be key if Finland are to win, but the Swedes are unbeaten so far and top the goalscoring charts in Neuchâtel, and in comparison the Finns have one blemish on their record with the group phase defeat against the Swiss.
Whether they have learnt their lessons from that defeat could be crucial.
A range of key duels to look out for that will decide all-Scandinavian semi-final
In big games, often the result can be decided by fine margins, and which key players can exert the most influence will be important in determining who will reach the final.
A large portion of Sweden’s side have been helping out with goals. Forwards Anna Wijk, Ellen Rasmussen, Johanna Hultgren, Sofia Joelsson, Moa Gustafsson and Emelie Wibron are all regular features on the scoresheet, while defensive players such as Myra Aggestal, Moa Tschop and Stephanie Boberg have also contributed. They are very much a side which defends by attacking, and they will need to ensure that balanced approach stays intact against their most capable opposition thus far.
Veera and Oona Kauppi will be the main bearers of Finland’s hopes here, while defensively, the Finns have players who have also chipped in at the other end of the court, mainly Mia Karjalainen and Mia Vallenius. Without doubt, it will take their best performance in Neuchâtel so far if they are to topple their old rivals, but in derby games as highly charged as this, it will all boil down to who can win their personal battles on the day. These games always tend to be entertaining, and the fans will be eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Floorball’s biggest clash.
The fifth to eighth classification bracket ready to kick-in
After the quarter-finals saw four more sides drop out of podium contention, the matter of where they will rank in the final medal table must be resolved and, therefore, the next batch of classification ties will also be played out today.
Latvia will go head to head with Poland, and there is plenty to suggest that they will offer another entertaining spectacle as Simona Grapena, Laura Gargere and Elizabete Pavlovska cross swords with Justyna and Zuzanna Krzywak, Dominica Buczek and Agata Plechan.
Meanwhile, a German side humbled by the champions will be seeking to finish their campaign strongly, starting with today’s classification clash with the Slovaks. Germany’s attacking potency dissipated in the face of the Swedes, but they will have to rediscover that spark here, with Anna Lena Best and Kisa Reck having a part to play. Slovakia, however, have little trouble scoring goals. Kristina and Paulina Hudáková and Michaela Sponiarova have been in imperious form, and they will be eyeing up the Germans looking to put them to the sword once again.
Yet, a wounded animal is often one of the most dangerous opponents, and if Germany do put in an improved performance, then there is every chance of them denting the hopes of the Slovaks.
Match schedule 14.12.19
Patinoires du Littoral:
11:30 am- Latvia vs Poland (5th-8th Classification tie)
2:30 pm- Sweden vs Finland (semi-final)
5:45 pm- Switzerland vs Czech Republic (semi-final)
10:00 am- Germany vs Slovakia (5th-8th Classification tie)