The closing day's play in the qualifying round of the ice hockey world championships has seen Switzerland finishing in a disappointing tenth place.This content was published on May 7, 2002 - 09:43
This month's tournament in Sweden was just the latest in a series of disappointments.
The national team failed to perform at last year's World championships in Germany and did not live up to expectations at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
This month, Switzerland managed to win only two of its first-round matchups to fall well short of moving on the next round. However the Swiss did come close to causing an upset against Olympic gold medallists, Canada.
But for Switzerland's coach, Ralph Krueger, the pressure is now on to justify his position.
After leading Switzerland to a few early successes, Krueger's track record has blurred.
The German-speaking Canadian is a good motivator who has given the national team new impetus. Swiss players have learned how to make their dreams possible. Krueger has helped banish the doubts.
But the last year has shown that motivation is not enough, with one losing performance after the other.
Krueger, the eternal optimist, says the assessment is only partially true.
"We've simply hit reality. We rose very quickly and have gone down again, just as quickly," he told swissinfo.
"And we are currently stronger than when we started our rise." Krueger says failures will help make the team grow. Perhaps?
Mathias Froidevaux in Karlstad, Sweden
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