The Swiss are the new Russians in world hockey
5: 2 against the Czech Republic is the best start to the World Cup in 70 years. Colors are appropriate for this comparison. Czech Republic opponent, too: the Swiss are the new Russians.
To understand the comparison, we have to turn the wheel of time a little: The Soviets (Russians) have dominated world ice hockey for a good 30 years. Between 1963 in Stockholm and 1986 in Moscow, there were only two world champions: the Soviet Union and the CSSR. However, Czechoslovakia at that time only acquired four titles. The Soviets (Russians) mostly played red and Czechoslovaks played mostly white. We had the same starting position in the opening match of the World Cup, mainly between the Swiss Reds and the Czechs.
Soviet game features: speed, accuracy, dominance. What defines the Czech game: prominent goalkeepers, tactical cunning, quick counterattacks.
And now, more than 30 years later, this “déjà-vu”: men of red dominate with a subtle rhythm. Your opponents in white hold up bravely. The main difference from then: the Czechs only have one goalkeeper on average. Not Vladimir D’Zurilla, Juri Holsek or Jerry Kralik. On the other hand, Leonardo Ginoni is cool. With decisive saves in the important stages: the Swiss beat the Czechs 5-2, as did the Russians at that time with Vyacheslav Tretiak, the most famous goalkeeper in Soviet hockey culture.
The Soviets entered the international stage with Donnerhall in 1954 and won the title on their first World Cup participation. From zero to one hundred. From the start of the stand. The most surprising development since then has been the rise of the Swiss national team from the bench, who were in the second division in 1998 and were only allowed to participate in the World Cup because they were hosts, and they returned to the world level.
“Field hockey” is the cornerstone
But above all: the evolution of the current generation of players is unique to global hockey. Patrick Fisher will be fired on October 22, 2015 in Lugano and will be the coach of the national team. And again this is in parallel with the Russians. Patrick Fisher’s first title tournament is the 2016 World Cup in … Moscow. This made the Swiss occupy only 11th place with the “hockey stadium”, two years later in Copenhagen in the 2018 World Cup Final. In the end there is a very hard and exciting defeat against Sweden after the penalty shootout.
“Field hockey” is the essence of today’s game. 2016 is still a silly offensive spectacle, often confused and extremely ill-organized. Patrick Fisher is a visionary: Also trying to take over the game against the titans of world hockey. What no national coach has dared to do since the mid-1950s.
Fischer is the first national coach in more than 60 years to dare to rely on fun tools rather than “concrete” or “Swiss bolt”. At this time, the year 2016 in Moscow was still crazy. Fun is not enough. Only Hockey Stadium.
But Patrick Fisher is sticking tight to the experiment – and winning. In retrospect, we can also ask: Were the fun aids really not enough? Or just lack courage? Patrick Fisher became the prince who awakened hockey from his slumber.
Genoni, the important support
5: 2 against the Czech Republic is the best start to the tournament at the highest level of the World Cup since 8: 1 against Norway on March 10, 1951 in Paris (third place). Best (but not more surprising) from 3-2 on 3 May 2013 against Sweden at the Silver World Cup in Stockholm. With the perfect game. And the perfect position. The scorers (Gregory Hoffman and Tristan Sheroy), for example, aren’t too bad to keep shots from pain in this match.
And again the comparison with the Russians: in their best times they rarely suffered defeats in the World Cup and mostly only against the Czechs. As dominant as they might be, they needed a world-class goalkeeper: Vyacheslav Tretyak. In the first World Cup without Tretyak, Vladimir Myshkin in the box in 1985 in Prague had one of the most surprising bankruptcies: defeats to the USSR and Canada, and only third place as a champion defending.
As good as the match against the Czechs was – without a giant in goal, the Swiss were nothing more than the Soviets at the time. Leonardo Ginoni was as good as Vyacheslav Tretiak against the Czechs.
Now an uncomfortable opponent awaits Switzerland on Sunday at 7:15 pm with the Danes, Heinz Eilers in the gang, who is copying our previous defensive tactics from the era of Ralph Kruger (1997 to 2010). In this way, the Danes are the Swiss in world hockey.
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