The Swiss team, which learned of its repechage for the World Cup 48 hours before its entry into the running, beat Austria (28-25) and headed for the main round. A feat.
After the last hours they had lived, let’s say that to see the Helvetians be led 3-0 after a little more than four minutes of play was not really a surprise. Michael Suter’s troupe had less than 48 hours between the time they learned they could play their first World Cup match since May 17, 1995 – when they were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals of the world championship played that year in Iceland – and the start of his match against his Austrian neighbor.
Time trial winner
Reunited on Wednesday, the Swiss went into isolation and then submitted to the regulatory PCR test, which eliminated Jonas Schelker and Luka Maros, positive and therefore absent for the start of the festivities. The next day, their plane was delayed for two hours from Zurich due to snow and landed in Egypt around 1:30 p.m.
Then “only” about three hours of bus remained to finally breathe the outside air and join the Dr. Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall in Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, near Cairo.
Andy Schmid and his teammates quickly picked up the pace after this false start. The score fell to 5-5 after the first ten minutes and even in favor of the Swiss at the quarter of an hour of play. The Austrians had then released their goalkeeper to evolve with one more striker, so much they no longer found the fault in the defense articulated around goalkeepers Nikola Portner – who even turned once into a scorer – and Aurel Bringolf, however not really successful in the first period.
If the “Nati”, in which the young Vaudois Medhi Ben Romdhane (19) could not enter given the stakes, was able to close ranks in defense from the outset, she experienced some offensive failures entry. Only 62% of his sends hit the target in the first period, finishing with a score of 13-13.
This problem was resolved with tea in the locker room: Samuel Rothlisberger, Andy Schmid and Lenny Rubin put the score to 17-14 from the start of the second half.
“Qualification” almost assured
This “break” allowed Switzerland to manage the nervousness which began to climb as the minutes went by. Cedrie Tynowski is no stranger to it, he who was almost perfect in shooting with a magnificent six out of seven. In the end, also thanks to two last ramparts in verve and who ended the meeting with 29% saves, the Swiss won 28-25 and celebrated in a beautiful farandole.
This success, obtained in rather improbable conditions, certainly has the gift of allowing the men of the Swiss team to pursue their dream in Egypt. The first three of this group of four will pass, in fact, in the main round and it would take an earthquake for the Austrians to snatch the victory against the two other teams in the group who are ogres of the discipline: Norway (silver during the last two Worlds) and France (six times world champion).