From Saturday, the Czech hockey players at the World Championship are guaranteed to advance to the quarterfinals. Sunday’s 2:4 defeat made the Swiss decide that Kari Jalonen’s men will definitely not win Group B. On Tuesday against Canada, they will fight for second place and the best possible playoff seeding.
The Czechs will finish second in the group if they beat Canada in any way. The Maple Leafs are playing against Norway this afternoon, and if they lose sensationally in regular time, the Czechs will need a single point from their match for second place.
In that case, the Czechs would meet the third team of Group A from Tampere in the quarter-finals. This will most likely be the reigning world champions, the home team, the Finns.
If the currently second-ranked Swedes fulfill the role of favorites against Denmark today, they will share it with the Americans on Tuesday for the first place in a direct fight.
Finland would finish third, but would still play at home in the quarter-finals as the host country. In this scenario, the Czechs would be moving from Riga already for Thursday’s duel.
Defeat against Canada and third place in the group would, paradoxically, most likely mean that Roman Červenka et al. they stay for the quarter-finals in Latvia. The inconvenience in the form of travel would then meet the worse of the pair USA – Sweden.
All this still assuming that the Danes, who are waiting for the match against the Swedes and the Finns, will not speak to the ranking in the top three.
The Latvians can also mix pairs for the quarterfinals. If they score in any way against the already certain winners of “B” the Swiss on Tuesday, they will secure progress and at the same time a home environment for the quarterfinals. If they even beat the Swiss, they could even get ahead of the Czechs.
It is very unlikely that the ranking in the groups would pit the two home teams, Finland and Latvia, against each other. In that case, the quarter-finals would not be played “cross-over” between the groups and the Czechs would meet Canada, Switzerland or Latvia.
If we exclude this wild possibility and also the variant with the Danes winning over the favorites, the Czech team will face Sweden, the USA or Finland in the semi-final battle. Germany can’t get it.
The first case would mean a change after years, the last time the Swedes played the Czechs in the quarter-finals at the World Cup was eleven years ago. And they won 4:3. On the other hand, they met the Americans in the key phase of the championship three times in the last ten years (with a 1:2 record), the Finns twice (with a 1:1 record).
Six teams are already certain of the quarter-finals before Monday’s program. The Germans and Danes are fighting for the last two places in the Tampere group, Latvians and Slovaks in the Riga group. They must beat Norway in 60 minutes on Tuesday and keep their fingers crossed for the Swiss in the evening to win against Latvia by three points.
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