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Krueger still confident

Krueger is keeping his head up Keystone

Switzerland coach Ralph Krueger is convinced his team can still reach the second round of the world ice hockey championships despite Saturday's defeat to Germany. On Monday the Swiss team face Belarus in what's likely to prove a decisive match.

This content was published on April 30, 2001 - 01:11

"We have to get back to our game," Krueger told swissinfo. "We have two matches left which gives us more room and time than we had last year. We just have to fight our way out of this and that's what we're going to do."

After losing their opening game against the Czech Republic, Belarus are as desperate for a win as Switzerland and are expected to put up quite a battle themselves.

The former Soviet state has enjoyed a dramatic rise through ice hockey's international ranks since the team's entry into the world C championships less than 10 years ago. Twelve months ago Belarus qualified for the second round of the championships proper after coming from 3-0 down against Switzerland to win 5-3.

"They're a tough team," Krueger insisted. "And the match between us is going to be a real dogfight. We need to get our offense going more than we did against Germany and get rid of the nerves that plagued us in that game."

Krueger will also be hoping that Belarus play a more open game than Germany did on Saturday. Anatoli Varivontshik's team are generally more happy to carry the puck than the Germans which could give the Swiss more chance to counter-attack.

Unlike on Saturday such chances will have to be taken if Switzerland are to avoid being sucked into the relegation fray.

by Mark Ledsom, Cologne

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