Swiss "must learn" from ice hockey disappointment

Krueger (left) believes his team can bounce back from their recent troubles Keystone

Switzerland ice hockey coach Ralph Krueger says his team must learn from this year's disappointing world championships. Speaking to swissinfo, Krueger insisted that the side would also have to come back much stronger for next year's Winter Olympics.

This content was published on May 7, 2001 - 13:56

Krueger's fourth year in charge of the Swiss team was the first to end with a negative balance. After suffering a surprise defeat to their German hosts in the tournament's opening match, Switzerland were never able to get their game together.

"We used way too much energy for the first two games," Krueger conceded after Sunday's decisive 2-1 loss to Russia. "We had to work much too hard to beat Belarus after losing to Germany and it was that lost energy that cost us the chance to beat the big teams in the end."

With the exception of Friday's 6-2 defeat at the hands of Canada, Krueger took comfort in the closeness of Switzerland's matches against those bigger teams. But, unlike in St Petersburg last year, the Swiss team were unable to turn their strenuous efforts into results.

Three times in a row, and for the first time in their history, the Swiss team lost matches in which they had taken the lead, with 1-0 advantages against the Czech Republic, Canada and Russia turning into 3-1, 6-2 and 2-1 defeats respectively.

With nine months to go until the start of the Winter Olympics, the Swiss team's learning curve will have to be steep if they are to achieve any kind of success in Salt Lake City, but Krueger is adamant that lessons will be learned.

"All the teams I've coached before have learned from set-backs and become stronger as a result," Krueger insisted. "The results in Germany have definitely been a set-back, but it wasn't a hammer blow like in Norway two years ago, when we finished eighth but were hopeless against the top nations.

"Next year we'll be going to our fifth A world championships in a row, which is something that's never happened before. And our aim will be to get back in the top eight again."

"The players will go home now," Krueger continued. "And for me it will be time to really analyse everything. Then there'll be a little time to regenerate and come back stronger. I know I've got a great group of guys here. So now it's all about getting the power out of them, rebuilding and coming at it all again from a new angle."

by Mark Ledsom, Hanover

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