The qualification for the 2022 World Floorball Championships in Switzerland this November for Europe (and Africa!) began today in Celano, Italy with the EUR3 groups.
Slovakia and Cote d’Ivoire kicked off the EUR3 event at 11 local time marking the first time in over two years that Cote d’Ivoire have played an international match. The only country taking part in qualifications from Africa started off with an extremely defensive setup looking to frustrate the Slovaks, through blocks and interceptions and fast breaks. This plan didn’t last long unfortunately as the talented Slovak forwards blitzed the Cote d’Ivoire defence with slick passing movements and quickfire goals. The experience and talent of the Slovak squad on show as they continued to push on for all three periods and score in total 34 goals. Cote d’Ivoire had some fast breaks to create chances but nothing came from them. Nevertheless, the experience is something that all the players cherished, on show by their big smiles and team spirit cheering for every save and blocked shot and congratulating the Slovaks after the match. This was a match for not just Cote d’Ivoire floorball but also African floorball. Final score was 34-0 to Slovakia
2020 WFC bronze medalists the Czech Republic started their WFC qualifying campaign in Celano against a spirited and close knit Slovenia squad. Slovenia were cheered on by a group of loud, passionate fans and were full of energy chasing down Czech players and any loose ball on the field. The Czechs looked to control possession and control of the match moving the Slovenes back and forth and trying to drain as much energy as possible. Czech pressure paid off with 6 goals in the first two periods, including an 11 minute hat trick for the talented young Matej Havlas. The battling Slovenians never gave up and fought hard in the third period stifling the Czech attack including a penalty shot save from the Slovenian best player of the game, goalkeeper Tim Luznar. Czech republic showed their talent with a 7-0 score being the final result.
Germany and Austria was the third game of the day to take place. The Germans came out strong firing first and then doubled their lead just after 10 minutes. Austria were not disheartened however and played hard, battling in the corners, forcing the Germans into a faster pace than originally planned. This pressure paid off with a goal 2 minutes into the second period from Niklas Fechtig. Germany responded through Flemming Kuhl but again Austria were not disheartened and began to put the pressure on the Germans themselves, which ended up paying off. After tieing up the game in the beginning of the third period the Austrian energy levels began to dip with the Germans once again coming back in control of the match. The Austrians stood tall however backed by their player of the game goalkeeper Timmo Taurer who made 23 saves in total. This was Taurer’s seventh consecutive WFCQ event in a row for Austria, a real modern day legend for Austrian floorball. The game ended 3-3 with the Austrians being happier than the Germans with the final result.
The final match of the day was time for the host country Italy to take the stage against Spain. With a loud, passionate home crowd cheering them on the Italians came out with the game plan to gain the ball physically and use quick passes to move the ball up the field as effectively as possible. Spain however looked to silence the home crowd and did with 4 quick goals in the first period which delated the crowd and the Italian team. Coming out for the second period a Spanish goal 23 seconds further soured the home party mood. This however ended up being a catalyst for an Italian revival. The gameplan changed and more determination and effort from the Italians was significantly increased, with the game going end to end for a period of time with hard physical play having to be calmed down by the referees. The Spanish looked to control the game after their great start and a possession style of play was integrated with more emphasis. The third period was a very tight affair with both goalies making important stops. The Spanish lead was too much for Italy with two goals in the third proving to just be a consolation for the final score of 6-2 to Spain.
Tuesday’s matches start at 11 with Germany taking on Cote d’Ivoire.
For more information on the WFCQ EUR3 qualifying event in Celano, Italy click here :