Switzerland have sensationally beaten Russia 3-2 in the ice-hockey world championships in St Petersburg to earn a place in the final twelve. The decisive goal came in the second period, when Thomas Ziegler smashed a backhander into the Russian goal.
Few pundits expected the Swiss to defeat the Russian side, following their earlier defeat against France. Before the match, Switzerland's coach, Ralph Krueger, admitted to swissinfo that his side was hardly the favourite in this crucial match against Russia.
However, Krueger maintained victory was possible, particularly after Russia's defeat at the hands of the Americans on Tuesday. In the event, his confidence was justified.
The Swiss skated onto the ice determined to play defensively. The first twenty minutes ended 1-1, and the high-powered Russians, bolstered by NHL stars like Pavel Bure, scored what looked like to be the decisive go-ahead goal with only four minutes left in the second period.
But the Swiss, making the most of only a handful of scoring opportunities, took less than a minute to equalise. And Ziegler shocked the Russians with his winning goal only a minute and a half after that.
A lot of credit for the win went to goalie, Reto Pavoni, who was in net when Switzerland beat Russia the last time they met in a World Championship in 1992.
The victory means Switzerland finishes second in the Group D standings after one victory, one tie, and one loss, with their place in the final twelve assured. The beleaguered Russian side limp into the next round by finishing third in the group, and were only assured of that position after the Americans beat France in the other Group match.
swissinfo with agencies