An absolute dream start seemed to pave the way for Czech Republic to write history for reaching the WFC finals for the first time in its history. Instead, it were the Swiss women to place themselves in the history books as initiating the sickest comeback in floorball history. The game ended 7-6 in overtime.
With enormous stakes, a ticket to the WFC finals, the two teams started the match. Czech Republic took off in extraordinary fashion, fiercely putting pressure on the players of team Switzerland who had no answer to the physical aggressiveness of the Czech players. This resulted in an early goal by Tereza Urbankova which was followed by a penalty shot from Denisa Ratajova and, 5 seconds later, a goal from Eliska Krupnova, Czech Republic’s captain. By the 7th minute mark, Switzerland was already looking at a 0-3 gap which was the final score of this chaotic period.
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The second period did not bring a more pleasant sight to the Swiss supporters who came en masse to this match. Kamila Paloncyova made her second goal of the tournament which was followed by a relatively easy goal from Krupnova in powerplay. The Swiss had no answer and lacked momentum. It was until Isabelle Gerig scored the opening goal for Switzerland – taking her own rebound in a counter – that the curse had lifted on the team. With a 1-5 gap by the end of the period, however, the Swiss had to come up with a different battle plan if they were to make it to the super finals on Sunday.
The Swiss audience had to swallow one more Czech goal when Nela Jirakova saw her shot being deflected in the goal for the 1-6. This marked the start of probably the most unreal comeback in floorball history. Switzerland was given a powerplay but it were the Czechs that had the biggest chance in the two minutes but neither side found the net. The game went into an interesting period when Switzerland first took two-minutes and with thirty seconds left, this honor went to Czech Republic. At the start of the powerplay, Switzerland pulled their goalkeeper for a 6vs4 but this was not even needed as at the first instance Flurina Marti fired the ball into the goal from around the middle line. The 6-2 was set. The Swiss attempted to further engage in their comeback by playing 6v5 but they had too many players in the field which resulted in yet another powerplay for Czech Republic which was then followed by yet another two-minute penalty on Czech side. It didn’t result in anything worthwhile for the Swiss but the Czech forced a penalty shot… which was missed.
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With 4 minutes left the Swiss needed to score 4 times. A glimmer of hope lit up when Julia Suter scored the 6-3 with 2 minutes left but was it too little, too late? It looked like it but another goal of Julia Suter with exactly 90 seconds left, this time she could easily tip in sleek volley assist by Isabelle Gerig, raised hope for the audience. A comeback with this score, with one and half minutes left, went from “impossible” to “hard”. Hope also rose in the players who saw a possibility to take the game. With 51 seconds left, Switzerlands cored again, again assisted by Isabelle Gerig (her 4th assist) whose cross pass cut through the Czech defense and was put in the net by Seraina Ulber. The unbelievable comeback was finalized with mere seconds left after Seraina Ulber – on good luck – backhanded the ball in the Czech slot and was cleverly deflected by Michelle Wiki. The audience and the Swiss players exploded.
With all the momentum of the world in their back, the Swiss took command of the overtime both teams knowing that the next goal would be the ticket to the WFC finals. Would it be the Czechs to write history and plunge the arena into mourning or would the Swiss finalize the comeback?
It would be the latter. It was Swiss hero Michelle Wiki to score after high pressure on the Czech defense. There were tears on both sides but for entirely contrasting reasons.