Switzerland have suffered a shock 3-1 defeat against their German hosts in the opening match of the ice hockey world championships.This content was published on April 28, 2001 - 19:23
Two goals in the last three minutes of the game ensured a dream start to the German campaign, and a nightmare beginning for Ralph Krueger's Switzerland.
The Swiss team conceded their first goal in bizarre fashion in the 19th minute. Under virtually no pressure, Edgar Salis elected to pass the puck across the face of his own goal and straight into the path of an incoming Marco Sturm.
The German side's only NHL player made the most of the unexpected gift, smartly batting the puck past a helpless Martin Gerber to prompt mass celebrations among the majority of the 18,500 spectators.
It wasn't until the closing stages of the second period that the Swiss finally managed to gatecrash the home team's party. As a Mexican wave tore around the Cologne Arena, Bern's Marc Reichert skilfully swept a Mark Streit pass goalwards to bring the German fans crashing back down to their seats.
As the match moved into the final minutes, Switzerland seemed destined to a unwanted draw, but suddenly even that passed them by.
In the 58th minute Mirko Ludemann waltzed around the Swiss defence before laying off a perfect pass for Nikolaus Kathan to bury. Within seconds of the restart, it was 3-1, Daniel Kreuzer breaking away from the German blue line before beating Gerber with the second of two shots.
Having lost the match that appeared to be the 'easiest' in their difficult group, Switzerland now seem to be in desperate need of a win over Belarus on Monday. The Belarussians will also be chasing their first points of the campaign, though, after losing 5-1 on Saturday to reigning champions, the Czech Republic.
by Mark Ledsom, Cologne
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