Switzerland Overcomes Czech Republic to Win Bronze Medals – 09.12.2018

16,112 fans, the highest single-match attendance ever, created a noisy atmosphere in Prague’s O2 Arena. The Czechs equalized after being down by two goals, but Switzerland won 4–2 in the end.

Two teams, but just one set of medals to get. The Czech Republic lost their semifinals to Finland 2–7 on Saturday, whereas Switzerland fell down 4–5 against Sweden in a penalty shoot-out. Both teams met in the group stage already, where the home team won 6–4 after a hard battle.

The Czechs seemed to be slightly more active in the first minutes of the game and held the ball more on their sticks. Jiří Curney and Adam Delong had good chances but the Swiss goalie Pascal Meier made a pair of reliable saves. Switzerland survived the home team’s opening pressure and scored in the 9th minute. The Czech defense lost the ball in front of the goal and Deny Känzig scored into the partly opened net after a pass from Matthias Hofbauer.

Half way through the first period, the home team played a power play. But the Swiss players didn’t allow too much danger, killed the penalty and even went up by two soon. Nils Conrad’s pass deflected off Martin Kisugite’s leg right into the net. With less than two minutes left in the first period, the Czechs put themselves on the board as Josef Rýpar scored on a rebound. The home team was also close to equalizing, but Pascal Meier made a fantastic save on a Patrik Dóža’s breakaway to keep his team in a 2–1 lead after twenty minutes.

Switzerland had an interesting opportunity to go back into a two-goal lead early in the second period as they played a power play but the Czechs managed to defend this situation. For the next few minutes, both goalies dominated in the rink and made several great saves.

The home team leveled the score in the 34th minute after a straightforward attack. Patrik Dóža sent a quick pass to Tom Ondrušek, who beat the Swiss goaltender and the nearly full O2 Arena in Prague went into raptures. The Swiss team took the lead back 36 seconds before the break when Tim Braillard scored on a power play. So it was 3–2 for the defending bronze medal holders after two periods.

Switzerland doubled their lead again in the 46th minute when Paolo Riedi sent the ball quickly into the net. As the time kept going on, more emotions and hard tackles appeared in the rink. The Czech players did their best to come back but the Swiss defense stayed well organized and their goalie Pascal Meier was the hero of the match. Marek Beneš and other Czech forwards had good chances to score but the goaltender denied them all.

The Czech pressure culminated in the last four minutes of the third period as the team pulled the goalie Lukáš Souček and tried to play with six players. Twenty-five seconds before the end the home team even played a six-on-four power play but Switzerland didn’t allow any more goals and survived the pressure.

Just like at the previous championship in Latvia two years ago, Switzerland beat the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game – this time 4–2. The Czechs finished the home championship in the 4th place. The 16,112 fans, who attended this match and supported the teams, created a new single-game attendance record of the men’s world floorball championships.