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Swiss victorious in Geneva

Finland's Lasse Pirjetae (left) and Switzerland's Sandy Jeannin ties themselves in knots on the ice


The Swiss ice hockey team has pulled off a convincing 2-1 win against the Finnish national side in a world championship warm-up match in Geneva.

In front of a 2,400-strong home crowd the national side scored once in the first period and once in the second to clinch an early victory.

Finland were the first off the mark with a goal from Rintanen in the tenth minute. But the Swiss were quick to equalise with Thomas Ziegler delivering the goods three minutes later.

By the 36th minute it was all over with Switzerland's Wichser scoring the deciding goal.

Sweet victory

The Swiss victory is all the sweeter as Switzerland rarely win against Finland. Out of nineteen games, Finland have won 17 and drawn one.

Sports journalists say the Swiss team should also be cautiously pleased with their win. Despite the Finns only scoring one goal they say the Swiss defence could have been stronger.

However the Swiss coach, Ralph Krueger, said he was happy with his team's performance.

"The line-up of experienced players worked well," he told reporters. "They showed what they were made of by coming back from 1-0 down. It's a positive sign but we still have a lot of work ahead of us in preparation for the world championships."

Training schedules

The Finnish coach, Hannu Aravirta, said Switzerland were the stronger side but pointed out that the Swiss team have been doing more training than the Finns to date.

"Switzerland wanted this win more than us, and they worked hard and deserve it," he said. "For us it was really a training match. We're still waiting for some of our national players to join us and our training schedule hasn't even started."

He was referring to the fact that some players from the top Finnish sides, Jokerit Helsinki and Tappara Tampere, are still involved in the country's play-offs.

The match, which is the first of four friendly matches marks the start of serious preparations for the world championships, which get underway in Sweden at the end of the month.

As part of these preparations the two sides will go head-to-head again on Saturday in Zurich.

swissinfo with agencies

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