Switzerland's winning streak in the Ice Hockey World Championships has been broken after their 3-5 defeat at the hands of Belarus. Despite their qualifying round loss at the championships in St Petersburg, they still go through to the quarter-finals.
In the first period, Switzerland forged ahead with three goals to their opponent's one. However, Belarus pulled themselves together enough to score the only three goals in the second period.
In a tense third and final period, Belarus tightened their grip on victory when Vasili Pankov scored in the 58th minute.
Switzerland are now in second place in Group E, thanks to Russia's 4-2 win over Sweden.
"We came in here trying to stay in the Ice Palace," said Swiss Head Coach, Ralph Krueger, of his team's goal of securing one of the top two spots in Group E. "Belarus showed a lot of character and put in a great effort. For us, it was a timely lesson. I will talk to my players in the next 48 hours. I think they know what went wrong."
Ivo Ruthemann was the Player of the Game for Switzerland, while Dmitry Starostenko took the honour for Belarus.
Switzerland will play in the quarter-finals against Canada on May 11 .
Meanwhile France have been relagated to the World B Pool despite a 7-2 win over Japan. Switzerland lost their game against the French side 4-2 in the preliminary round, and nearly fell into the relegation round themselves before their surprise victory over Russia.
swissinfo with agencies