Switzerland had to settle for the unpopular fourth place at the previous U19 WFC in Canada. This time, they come to Brno with a clear goal, but as Gian Thöni, the Swiss national team player from Floorball Köniz says, they need to take it step by step.
The junior WFC is almost behind the corner, with only a few months left until the junior teams meet in Brno to see who can take the gold medal home. However, the pandemic might have caused some obstacles in training and preparations and might influence in what form the teams arrive in Brno. But as Gian says, he believes team Switzerland did not leave anything up to fate: “As a team, we are on the right track. Of course, the pandemic has severely restricted our training options. In the club too, we cannot train as usual. We have training so that we can obey the corona measures.” The team also managed to meet before the EFT was supposed to be played this October: “In the training camp a week before the supposed EFT we trained very well together. Everyone was very motivated and there was a great atmosphere. The decision to cancel the EFT was hard for us.”
The U19 WFC will take place in Brno, Czech Republic, the same country that hosted the last Men’s World Championship in 2018. There, Switzerland played an amazing game against Sweden in the semifinals, which Gian remembers watching: “Of course, I followed the WFC two years ago and saw many interesting games. My favourite game was the semi-final Switzerland against Sweden, which Switzerland, unfortunately, lost in the penalty shootout.” Despite the tough loss for the senior team, he is looking forward to coming back to the Czech Republic: “I have already played many times at the Prague Games and only have good memories of Czech Republic. I’m hoping for an exciting tournament with a great atmosphere and many spectators.”
As for expectations in the junior WFC, Gian knows the team needs to take it step by step: “I’m convinced that everyone from our team will give everything and of course we want to get as far as possible. But every game has to be played first and that’s why I think we shouldn’t look too far into the future, but rather show our best performance game after game.” As for who the biggest challenger for his team is gonna be, he is expecting no change: “As we could see in the last few years, there are always the same nations at the top. So, I would say that Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic will definitely be our biggest challengers.” And the ideal group opponents for the WFC? “I would choose Denmark, Germany and Latvia.”
The U19 WFC is a chance for the young players to prove their talent and set on their path to becoming future stars of the senior teams. Even for Gian, this means a dream come true: “For me as for my teammates, the WFC will be a great experience. Every week, every day I work hard for it. It is an honour to play for my country as well as a big dream that will come true.”