Neuchâtel, Switzerland, December 15, 2019 – The final day of World Championship action in Neuchâtel will see eight teams lock horns once more, including the grand finale which will see Sweden or Switzerland crowned World Floorball Champion 2019.
The warm-up acts before the gold medal game which will bring the curtain down on an epic week of nerve shredding action, include the bronze medal match between Finland and the Czech Republic, and the last two of the classification playoffs as the rankings table takes its final shape.
Here is what fans can expect today as this year’s World Championship draws to an eagerly anticipated conclusion:
Hosts & defending champions do battle for title glory
After making it to the final via two classic semi-final ties, reigning champions Sweden will be on the hunt for their seventh successive gold medal, while host-nation Switzerland are after their second world title with a dream of lifting it on home soil close to being fulfilled.
It is no surprise the perennial winners, Sweden, have made it this far, but after some of their vulnerabilities were exposed by Finland, the Swiss will be confident that they can hurt them, and indeed the manner of their “miracle of Neuchâtel” semi-final win and the cushion of home advantage will mean they have the belief they can beat anyone.
Furthermore, with the Swiss having beaten Finland in the group phase and the Finns having come closest to knocking the Swedes out, there is confidence that the hosts can gain from that.
The key duels that will decide the final
Switzerland’s Corin Rüttimann has the opportunity to go top of the all-time leading goalscorers list at Women’s World Championships and the gold medal final would be an incredible occasion to do it. Her head to head with Sweden’s in-form attacker Moa Gustafsson, will likely have much bearing on where the medal will go and whether a miracle like that of the semi-final can be repeated in favour of the hosts.
Sweden’s star performer in the semi-final was Emelie Wibron, who has been in hugely confident mood throughout the tournament as reflected by her form on court. Switzerland’s Isabelle Gerig, however, is confident home advantage can count in their favour against the defending champions and she will be relishing a fierce duel against Wibron.
Despite being a predominantly defensive player, Stephanie Boberg has regularly featured in Swedish scoring charts, but her ability to get forward will likely be tempered by her need to shackle Michelle Wiki, who scored the crucial equalising goal and overtime winner to crown Switzerland’s comeback in the semi-final against the Czechs.
Julia Suter was another orchestrator of the Swiss semi-final rescue act, and the duel between her and potent Swedish attacker Sofia Joelsson is also likely to have a huge impact on which way this final will ultimately swing.
An epic curtain call awaits.
Czechs aim to go one better than 2017 against silver medal holders
Finland and the Czech Republic will do battle for bronze and this one will largely be down to mental strength, namely which side can muster one more big performance after a gutting semi-final exit.
Finland have to get over the continuation of their hoodoo against old adversaries Sweden, as well as the disappointment of not reaching the final, which usually tends to be the case.
The Czechs will have a major task in rousing themselves for this one after the pain and ignominy of losing a 6:2 lead with two minutes left to fall in the semi-final, but having slipped up in this fixture two years ago, there is still the chance that they can better that this time and finish with a bronze medal in the cabinet.
The Finns have taken bronze twice in World Championship history, while the Czechs have scooped the accolade once.
The personal battles that will decide the fate of bronze
Despite the pain of their semi-final exit, the Czechs can take a huge amount of encouragement from their overall performance and the individual exploits of captain Eliska Krupnova and attacker Tereza Urbankova. Both have been regular scorers for the Czech side and if they can continue to lead by example, there is every chance that they can finish the tournament strongly with a podium finish.
However, Finland’s rather attack-minded defender, My Kippila, will set her sights on stopping the Czech duo in their tracks while using her abilities to craft opportunities going forward for Finland. Over their-semi final, she carved a number if goalscoring chances and given the reliability of Oona Kauppi in front of goal, one chance is likely to result in a Finnish goal. The Czechs will have to keep Kauppi shackled if they are to see this one through.
Two thrilling classification playoffs to decide the final medal table
The Superfinal Sunday warm-up acts start with the bout for seventh place, between Latvia and Germany, after both sides slipped up in the classification matches on Saturday.
Fifth seeds Latvia will be marginal favourites, with Simona Grapena, Elizabete Pavlovska and Laura Gargere all on scoring streaks. But it has been a disappointing campaign on the whole and despite Germany having been off the pace this campaign, the emergence in form of Theresa Beppler-Alt will be of huge encouragement and they could be in a position to cash in on Latvia’s struggles.
Elsewhere, Poland and Slovakia, will playoff for the fifth place accolade, with both teams having been in similar form throughout this campaign. Slovakia do have the better record in games between these sides recently, and the partnership which has blossomed between Paulina Hudáková and Michaela Sponiarova in the last game will be a huge lift for them going into this final match of the campaign.
Dominika Buczek was Poland’s most potent threat in the previous win over Latvia, while Malwina Zagorska has also been on target in recent games. If these two players can deliver once more, there is every chance the Poles can claim their first win against Slovakia in four years to end their tournament on a high.
Match schedule 15.12.19
Patinoires du Littoral:
10:30 am- Poland vs Slovakia (5th place)
1:30 pm- Finland vs Czech Republic (3rd place)
4:30 pm- Sweden vs Switzerland (Final)
10:00 am- Latvia vs Germany (7th place)