After the end of the World Cup quarter-finals: Söderholm fluctuates between disappointment and pride

For Germany’s ice hockey team, hopes for the first World Cup medal have been dashed. With the 1: 4 (0: 2, 0: 1, 1: 1) against the Czech Republic on Thursday in the quarterfinals at the World Cup in Finland it was over for the German team, who lost their chances with penalties. A year after the semi-final coup in Riga, the selection of national coach Toni Söderholm could not use the tailwind of the strong preliminary round. Like three years ago, the highly efficient Czechs were the final destination in the quarterfinals.

Moritz Seider’s goal in the 54th minute came too late and wasn’t enough. Sweden were also eliminated in the afternoon – after a 3-0 lead against Canada, the Scandinavians lost 3-4 after extra time.

He is “very proud” of his players, said national coach Toni Söderholm. “One had the feeling that our team was on the right track,” said the Finn. Goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer drew a positive conclusion despite the disillusionment: “It was an incredible team, it was a lot of fun.”

After all, the DEB selection had previously corrected the disappointing impression of the early failure at the Olympics with the best World Cup preliminary round of a German team. After five victories in the seven group games, many spoke of the precious metal. But an early penalty for the Munich striker Yasin Ehliz and the well-played number hit by the Czech NHL star David Pastrnak in the 3rd minute had an immediate dampening effect.

Coach Söderholm had suspected that the twelve-time world champion would be a difficult test despite an unconvincing preliminary round. “You don’t get anything for free, you have to work for everything. Patience will be required, and the heart of a fighter,” said the national coach.

For the Finn, the game was a special reunion with his compatriot Kari Jalonen. The new Czech national coach was once Söderholm’s club coach in Helsinki and later something of a mentor. “It’s nothing personal for both of us,” Söderholm assured. And yet the 44-year-old would have loved to spoil his former teacher’s tournament debut.

Busy. Philipp Grubauer (right) in the center..Foto: ActionPictures/Imago

But the Czechs, reinforced with nine NHL professionals, also used the second majority coldly. Roman Cervenka completed a fine combination to make it 2-0 (11th) when Düsseldorf striker Daniel Fischbuch was in the penalty box. The Germans had previously had the fewest penalties of all teams in the tournament and thus rarely got themselves into trouble by being outnumbered.

The Germans missed too many chances

Even in the middle of the first third there was little to suggest that the German team could improve on the previous record of only four wins in 31 World Cup games against the Czech selection. The revenge for the bitter end three years ago at 1: 5 in the World Cup quarterfinals in Bratislava was a long way off.

Söderholm’s players only had chances to score at the end of the first period, attacker Lukas Reichel from the second-class North American professional league AHL hit the post (19th). “We have to find our game, trust ourselves a bit more,” warned captain Moritz Müller at Sport1.

But the Czechs wouldn’t allow that. Tactically well adjusted by coach Jalonen, the former ice hockey superpower constricted the German team in phases in its own third. The first majority in the middle of the second part of the game was also unsuccessful for the DEB selection.

Instead, the next penalty and the next blow to the neck followed. Defender veteran Korbinian Holzer had to leave, David Krejci scored to make it 3-0 (33rd). The fact that polar bear attacker Marcel Noebels failed again shortly afterwards at the post matched the used day of the Germans. “We had too much respect,” admitted young NHL star Seider before the final third.

Nine minutes before the end, Söderholm took a full risk, taking keeper Philipp Grubauer off the ice in favor of another attacker when he was outnumbered. The reward was Seider’s long-range goal to make it 1:3. But the turning point was no longer successful. Jiri Smejkal (59th) hit the empty goal. (dpa)

By Editor

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