Sunday, June 6th, 2021
USA secure World Cup bronze
German ice hockey selection experienced humiliation
The bitter semi-final defeat of the German national ice hockey team is leaving its mark. In the game for bronze, the team of coach Söderholm is downright outclassed. Overall, the World Cup is still a success.
No more strength, no medal. Germany’s long and famous ice hockey team experienced a debacle at the end of the World Cup in Riga and was not rewarded with the hoped-for first World Cup medal in 68 years. Only 21 hours after the unfortunate semi-final defeat against Finland, the tired and mentally burned selection of national coach Toni Söderholm was outclassed in the game for the bronze medal by the USA at 1: 6 (0: 1, 0: 4, 1: 1). World Cup debutant Dominik Bittner from the Grizzlys Wolfsburg scored the only German goal (50th minute) when the game had long been decided.
Christian Wolanin (6th), Conor Garland (27th), Jack Drury (29th), Jason Robertson (32nd), Trevor Moore (33rd) and Ryan Donato (50th) secured the eighth World Cup for the US boys -Bronze Medal. As most recently at the 2010 home World Cup, Germany finished fourth. What was still a sensation eleven years ago, however, now feels like a disappointment – which was also due to the lesson at the end. Secretly, the team of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) had calculated more and even squinted on the world championship title.
Indeed, on Saturday the first World Cup final in 91 years wasn’t missing much. In the 1: 2 against the homeland of Söderholm, Germany were the better team, but had no luck and also made two momentous individual mistakes that were mercilessly exploited by the effective Finns. “You have to respect the result, even if it hurts a lot,” Söderholm said. After the bitter defeat, his players decided to secure at least third place and thus the best World Cup result since silver in 1953. “We’ll get bronze tomorrow, no matter how,” said defensive veteran Korbinian Holzer. This did not succeed because the mental show of strength did not work either. “It wasn’t easy to come to terms with that,” Söderholm said before the game at Sport1 in view of the defeat on Saturday evening.
Goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger, who called the quick focus on a possible medal after the 1: 2 against the Finns as a “challenge”, only sat on the bench against the USA. Substitute Felix Brückmann was overcome after a good five minutes with the first US shot at all. The strong defender Wolanin took the puck from Matthias Plachta, started a solo and finished. Again, the German selection had to run behind a deficit in their tenth game within 16 days as before in the semi-finals against the Finns and in the quarter-finals against Switzerland. “We have to wake up slowly now,” warned defender Moritz Seider during the third break.
It is only enough for a consolation hit
The opposite happened. As usual, Germany had a hard time on the offensive, while the USA mercilessly seized opportunities. With every goal conceded, the German legs became heavier, even in double the majority no more hit wanted to fall. To make matters worse, captain Moritz Müller had to be injured from the ice. The consolation goal came in the final third, but was far too little in the end.
Overall, the World Cup is still a success. The development in German ice hockey with more and more NHL top performers, of which the best – Germany’s Sportsman of the Year 2020 Leon Draisaitl, goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer and top newcomer Tim Stützle – is progressing. After the sensational Olympic silver medal in 2018, at least until Saturday, a passionate selection with the best team spirit and fighting power delighted again.
In the preliminary round, the first World Cup victory in 25 years against Canada (3: 1) also achieved something historic. “I think the whole of ice hockey Germany is proud of the way the team has presented itself here,” said Söderholm, who expressed himself almost touched by his selection. Arch-rival Switzerland, whom Germany defeated in the quarter-finals after a shootout, is considered a role model with two finals in 2013 and 2018. In the world rankings, which are important for the World Cup group classification and Olympic qualifications, Germany consolidated seventh place ahead of Switzerland with the World Cup result and increased its lead over the Swiss.