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Roller hockey: Swiss off to flying start

The Swiss players celebrate the second goal of Gilles Brentini (left)


Switzerland have made a great start as host nation of the European Roller Hockey championships, currently being staged in Wimmis, canton Berne. Jorge Luz's side crushed England 7-0 in the tournament's opening match.

England kept the game tight in the opening phase but after 14 minutes Marcel Althaus scored the first of three goals, precipitating the England collapse.

Roller hockey may not have the worlwide reputation of its bigger brothers, field and ice hockey, but it is a sport in which Switzerland can boast a considerable history. Dominated by the British in the years leading up to the Second World War, top honours have since been divided between Spain, Portugal and the Swiss.

The current Swiss side are stretching home advantage to its most literal extremes. Geneva's Gilles Brentini, who scored two of the goals against England, is the only player in the team not to hail from canton Berne.

On Wednesday, Switzerland will face probably their toughest challenge against the reigning champions, Portugal. The Portuguese have also made a winning start to the tournament after coming from behind to beat France 2-1.

by Mark Ledsom

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