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US ice hockey win over Russia puts pressure on the Swiss

Russia's shock 3-0 defeat on Monday night, by a United States' team which had minimal preparation in the lead-up to the Ice Hockey World Championships, has turned up the pressure on Switzerland, who are virtually assured of bottom place in Group D.

In front of a passionate Russian crowd at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace, a US team made up of a mixture of NHL pros, college players and minor leaguers, with only three practices behind them, pulled off one of the championships' biggest surprises.

It was the United States' third international victory against a Russian or Soviet Union side since 1960. It was also the second biggest loss for Russia in the championships' history.

Switzerland now have to match the Americans' success and beat Russia on Wednesday if they are to have any chance of progressing to the next round. Even if they pull off this unlikely feat, Ralph Krueger's team will have to rely on the US beating France in their last game of the round, a combination which would see the French finish bottom of the qualifying group.

Such a scenario is unlikely given the strength of the Russian side, and for many neutral fans it would be an unfair outcome on the French, who convincingly beat the Swiss 4-2 on Monday. Far more likely is a battle in the relegation round for a Swiss side that had been dreaming of a top eight finish when the championships got under way.


Group D Games remaining: USA v France, Russia v Switzerland.


swissinfo with agencies



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