We are now down to 50 days to go until the first Floorball match will be played at the 2022 World Games. The next team in our countdown that will take part this July in Birmingham, Alabama are the defending champions, Sweden!
The journey to the World Games in 2022 began at the 2020 World Floorball Championships in Helsinki last December where the top 5 finishing countries, best AOFC and best AMER teams would qualify alongside hosts USA for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Switzerland were the first to qualify followed by Thailand who beat Philippines in a nervy shootout for 13th position and qualification to Birmingham and Canada who finished 12th and were the highest placing AMER country. Latvia completed the World Games lineup by beating Norway for 5th place.
Sweden are gold medalists from the previous World Games in Wrocław, in 2017 beating the Czech Republic in the semi-finals and then Switzerland in the final to become 2017 World Games champions. They came through the group stage with two wins against the USA (20-0) and Switzerland (3-0). In the semi finals the Swedes were matched up against a solid Czech side whom they dispatched 5-2 with two very late goals. The gold medal game was very well close and tight affair with Switzerland who were leading 5-2 in the 2nd period before a 3 goal blitz in 65 seconds brought the Swedish team back level before adding two later on to win the match and gold medal 7-5 in the final.
Expectations as ever for a country like Sweden are almost always Gold at an major event and this year will be no different heading into Birmingham as defending champions from the World Games and World Championships alongside being the number 1 ranked team in the world. The expectation will be heavy on their shoulders but the talent on show with the Swedish squad will be hard to deal with. Recently at the 2020 Word Championships in Helsinki, Finland the Swedes managed to beat the Finns on home soil to become World Champions, getting revenge for two previous finals losses and showing that they are the best Floorball nation in the world.
Sweden will be looking to continue their rich vein of form after winning World Championship gold in December. The upcoming men’s WFCQ event in Koceni, Latvia will play host to Sweden who will be favourites in their group to qualify for the men’s World Championships later this year in Switzerland. This event will be good warm up event for the Swedish team to try out new tactics, players and strategies ahead of the World Games, such is the strength of the Swedish team. Barring a major upset they should comfortably qualify for the World Championships from their group.
Sweden will be competing at the Men’s WFCQ 2022 EUR1 event in Valmiera, Latvia in May for the World Championships in November 2022. They will therefore have a warm-up, international competition before the games in July in which to solidify their team and tactics before Birmingham. This should be a help with gaining better team cohesion and togetherness before the World Games.
How well will Sweden do at the World Games in Alabama? Only time will tell, but they are one of the favourites with a talented, experienced and proven squad looking to cement their status as the best in the world by winning another World Games gold medal.
The previous edition in 2017 in Wrocław was won by Sweden, beating Switzerland in the final, 7-5. Finland came 3rd followed by Czech Republic in 4th, USA in 5th and hosts Poland in 6th.
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