Switzerland has qualified for the quarter finals of the ice-hockey World Championship by defeating Latvia 4-1. It is the third time running Switzerland has secured a place in the top eight nations at the championships.This content was published on May 9, 2000 - 14:24
The game in St Petersburg was decided in the second period. After a goalless first period, Patrick Fischer opened the score in the 22nd minute, followed by goals from Marcel Jenni in the 28th and another one from Fischer in the 30th.
Gian-Marco Crameri wrapped up the game with a fourth goal in the 53rd minute. The Latvians only narrowly avoided being shut-out, scoring a consolation goal two minutes from the end.
"I do not think there are any easy games," said Jenni. "We concentrated hard at the beginning of the game. We have a good streak (three games undefeated) going."
"This is a big step for Swiss hockey, reaching the final eight for the third consecutive time," said the head coach, Ralph Krueger.
It was an unspectacular game, reflecting the high stakes for Switzerland. To be certain of a place in the quarterfinals, the Swiss needed to defend at least a draw.
Switzerland's win is the latest in a series of strong performances, beating Russia and holding some of the best ice-hockey nations, such as the United States and Sweden, to draws. However, the Swiss have also been inconsistent, losing for example to France in the first round.
Latvia, although not rated highly before the start of the competition, has produced one of the greatest of many surprises at the World Championship in getting this far. Their place in the quarter finals is safe, despite Monday's loss.
Crameri was named the Player of the Game for Switzerland, while Aleksandrs Belavskis took the title for Latvia.
swissinfo with agencies
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