Sweden and Finland reach semi-finals of Women’s World Floorball  Championships 2023; brave effort from Singapore in 3-4 loss to Japan 

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SINGAPORE, 7 December 2023 – Floorball powerhouses Sweden and Finland booked their spots in  the last four of the Women’s World Floorball Championships (WFC) 2023 in style, beating Latvia and  Poland respectively in the quarter-finals on Thursday (7 December). Hosts Singapore were on the verge  of a courageous comeback but eventually went down fighting to Japan in the 9th-12th placement  match at the OCBC Arena. 

WFC debutantes France recorded their first win at the tournament in a spectacular battle that had  everything, showing their grit and fighting spirit to come from two goals down to score a last-minute  winner and finish 15th. Germany too left it late secure a 3-2 victory against Norway after trailing by a  goal in the early stages. 

The quarter-finals continue on 8 December, with Switzerland facing Slovakia and Czech Republic taking  on Denmark. 

The results from Dec 7 are as follows. 

Game Score
Australia v France (15th place play-off) 4-5
Estonia v USA (13th place play-off) 9-4
Norway v Germany (9th-12th: 2) 2-3
Finland v Poland (QF1) 11-2
Sweden v Latvia (QF2) 13-3
Singapore v Japan (9th-12th: 1) 3-4

The schedule for Dec 8 is as follows. 

OCBC Arena Hall 1
2pm: Switzerland v Slovakia
5pm: Czech Republic v Denmark
8pm: Japan v Germany

Summaries of the matches and quotes from the players are available below. 

Australia 4-5 France 

#2 Melissa Creagh (20:48) #10 Blaise Hodges (28:36) #3 Tiffany Mackintosh (39:20) #2 Melissa Creagh (57:39) 

#77 Marine Klopfenstein (27:23) #77 Marine Klopfenstein (54:32) #10 Sandie Masi (55:54) 

#77 Marine Klopfenstein (58:36) #77 Marine Klopfenstein (59:11)

WFC debutantes France clinched their first win of the tournament in style, putting up an inspiring  display of grit and courage at the OCBC Arena for a remarkable 5-4 victory over Australia in the play off for 15th place. Both teams had played against each other during the group stage, which was a close  contest that ended in a draw. But their second showdown in Singapore turned out differently. After  the first period ended goalless, Australia scored first through Melissa Creagh, and Marine Klopfenstein  equalised for France. Australia captain Blaise Hodges recovered quickly from a missed attempt at goal  to regain control of the ball and, darting around the back of the goalpost, swiftly flicked the ball in for  her team to lead 2-1. Tiffany Mackintosh made it 3-1 for Australia at the end of the second period.  Klopfenstein scored again to narrow the gap with a stunning goal from just before the halfway line,  and team-mate Sandie Masi levelled the score. Creagh scored her second goal of the match for  Australia to edge ahead with just over two minutes of play left, but France kept cool and continued to  attack. Klopfenstein produced a flash of brilliance to score two goals within seconds of each other, and  raised her arms in triumph as the final whistle made France’s victory official.  

Quotes: 

“I think we just didn’t play the full 60 minutes. We came out in the third period and towards the end  we lost a little bit and unfortunately floorball is a 60-minute game and not 50 minutes. We’ve got a  lot to work on, we’re going to go home and work really hard and that’s all we can do.” – Vanessa  Austin, Australia defender 

“I just don’t know how I’m feeling yet. It’s too complicated for me to say what I’m feeling right now  because it’s a lot of emotions and it’s really crazy. We played against Australia two days ago and we  were winning 4-1 (before Australia caught up), so it was almost the same situation today. It was all  only in our head so we told ourselves if Australia was able to do that, so can we. The experience at the  WFC has been unbelievable and I’m very proud. I was sure we could do something big today and we  did.” – Marine Klopfenstein, France forward 

Estonia 9-4 USA 

#6 Milja Alanko (12:25) #36 Piret Puidak (15:52) #74 Johanna Siling (18:18) #16 Reti Väärt (20:29) #17 Nelli Alanko (23:49) #36 Piret Puidak (38:13) #6 Milja Alanko (39:43) #36 Piret Puidak (50:36) #22 Kati Kutisaar (57:30) 

#57 Selma Johansson (16:02) #57 Selma Johansson (20:23) #10 Klara Kyrk Gere (23:41) #25 Christine Lindberg (38:37) 

Both teams took their time finding their rhythm but Estonia settled down quicker and scored two goals  in three minutes to go 2-0 up with four minutes left in the first period. The USA halved the deficit just  seconds later through Selma Johansson but Estonia kept up persistent attacks as they enjoyed more  possession than their opponents. Johanna Siling then slammed a screamer from the right flank into  the far top corner to help her side regain a two-goal lead and there was no way back for the Americans  after that. Estonia kept a tight control on the game to ensure they finished 13th, while the USA settled  for 14th. 

Quotes 

“The team had a rough start but in the end, we had our game going and everything ended well for us.  Of course, we were aiming for a higher placement in the World Championships however, this is what  we ended up with so all we can do is accept. It is take it or leave it. I am really happy for the team. We  have prepared for this for a couple of years and everyone has given their best. Overall, I am really  happy that our team is together, we get to play together and enjoy the matches.” – Piret Puidak,  Estonia forward 

“It was a tough today. We wanted to make sure we were able to give everyone a chance to play. We  knew Estonia were going to be tough, we’ve met with them previously in this tournament and in past  tournaments so we knew they’re definitely going to be a tough team and we were hoping be able to  fight strong and finish well. A win is always hoped but I’m more proud of our team than anything. It  was tough. Singapore is fantastic and getting out here has been expensive and for those who were  able to come, it’s fantastic. We’ve gotten some new girls that we’ve known over time that got the  chance to play and I’m so happy about that. We have a lot of American-based players that we were  able to bring in and it’s really fantastic for home, to take back to our home clubs. We’re still really  happy with the result. Getting any place is amazing because we all get to be here in the first place.  Being with my team is amazing. It’s a fun girls’ (fortnight) and it’s fantastic to see other women play  really well and compete at a high level. It means so much to me.” – Kate MacBean, USA goalkeeper 

Norway 2-3 Germany 

#2 Rikke Ingebrigtsli Hansen (7:52) #13 Johanna Ragnarsson (50:30) 

#12 Theresa Beppler-Alt (10:51) #11 Winona Jurgens (15:47) #27 Ellen Kunigk (55:34) 

Germany came from behind to grind out a 3-2 win over Norway on Thursday, recovering well from the  heartbreak of relinquishing a 3-1 lead in their last match the day before. Norway drew first blood with  Rikke Ingebrigtsli Hansen striking first, and Germany responded through Theresa Beppler-Alt. The  latter then made an assist for teammate Winona Jurgens to score, giving Germany the 2-1 advantage  at the end of the first period. Neither side relented with the second period ending goalless. Germany  did well to hold their opponents back until the 51st minute, when Norway’s Johanna Ragnarsson  equalised. As the clock ticked down to the end of the game and overtime seemed likely, Germany  forward Ellen Kunigk extricated herself from the two Norway players marking her to slam home the  winning goal in the last five minutes. Germany will face Japan for 9th place on Friday, while Norway will  play against Singapore for 11th on Saturday. 

Quotes: 

“I think we did okay in the match, but we let in the most goals so it’s not good enough. At the same  time we did our best but it wasn’t quite enough today. We have to put our focus on tomorrow’s match.  Of course winning is always the target, so we have to eat, sleep and prepare for tomorrow.” – Ida  Sundberg, Norway forward

“We’re feeling very happy especially after the last game which was a tough loss. It felt really good to  get that win and especially having managed to be in front by one goal — bringing it towards the end  and not having bad last minutes. It felt really, really good and we’re really proud of our team effort.  (During the timeout), we talked about how we just wanted to play our own game and how we wanted  to continue to fight and play well in a five against five and just be prepared for whatever would come.  And like I said, especially focus on the last minute and make them our minutes and not lose them like  sadly what happened yesterday. I think we all have the feeling that we have a really good World Cup  squad this tournament, and I think we were really aiming to get back to the top eight. So I think the  least we can do is be confident and really strive for the ninth place and I think that’s what we will do  in the next game.” – Ellen Kunigk, Germany forward and scorer of the winning goal 

Finland 11-2 Poland 

#82 Hanna Niemela (01:46) #3 Sara Piispa (06:29) #82 Hanna Niemela (10:48) #82 Hanna Niemela (13:57) #27 Oona Kauppi (15:58) #44 Milla Nordlund (18:46) #3 Sara Piispa (19:48) #18 Johanna Homi (44:49) #28 Veera Kauppi (45:21) #89 Jenna Saario (47:11) #18 Johanna Homi (55:28) 

#24 Martyna Gradzka (09:50) #7 Malwina Zagorska (19:09) 

A dominant performance in the first period in their quarter-final match against Poland was all Finland  needed to keep them on track for a 13th consecutive top-three finish at the WFC. Polish goalkeeper  Klaudia Jachymiak made 17 saves in the first 20 minutes but was powerless to stop the relentless  Finnish attacks that were executed to perfection as Finland took a 7-2 lead. Following an action-packed  first period, an uneventful second period saw Finland and Poland registering just nine and four shots  respectively, all of which were saved by the respective goalkeepers. Finland rediscovered their groove  in the final 20 minutes, adding four more goals to seal their spot in Saturday’s semi-finals. Meanwhile,  Poland will look to match their best finish of fifth at the WFC in the first 5th-8th placement match also  on Saturday. 

Quotes 

“In the beginning, we started well. We were good with controlling the ball and today, the whole match  seems to be in our control. We were well prepared coming into this match and we wanted to play well.  Ahead of the semi-finals, we will need to do better in our defence and be more eager in our attempts  to take the goal. I would just like to say to the fans, thank you for all your support.” – Hanna Niemela,  Finland forward 

“I have to say we played really well. We fulfilled tactics we wanted to try, we stayed a bit lower because  against such tough opponents, we had to. We played really nicely, especially in the defence. Finland’s  accuracy of shots in the first period was better because we also had our chances but unfortunately, we  missed the goal too often. But for them, almost every shot was a goal and our goalie did an amazing  job but still, they are a bit more accurate in their shooting. The most important thing (we learnt) is that we have to be calm. We have our situations and by playing a calm game and having calm passing, we  are able to overcome such tough opponents.” – Weronika Noga, Poland captain and defender 

Sweden 13-3 Latvia 

#44 Lisa Carlsson (01:49) #14 Moa Tschop (13:56) #14 Moa Tschop (16:09) 

#16 Moa Gustafsson (18:20) #47 Hanna Nordstrand (22:29) #26 Emelie Wibron (24:09) #18 Klara Molin (25:00) #26 Emelie Wibron (36:46) #13 Wilma Johansson (40:34) #47 Hanna Nordstrand (43:24) #47 Hanna Nordstrand (45:44) #9 Sandra Boric Svard (47:29) #13 Wilma Johansson (51:32) 

#95 Anna Ankudinova (43:29) #41 Simona Grapena (44:20) #11 Darta Derupa (57:37) 

Defending champions Sweden continued their charge towards an eighth consecutive world title with  a resounding victory over world No. 8 Latvia in the quarter-finals on Thursday. Top-ranked Sweden  needed just less than two minutes to get going at the OCBC Arena. Lisa Carlsson whipped in a beautiful  mid-range shot past Latvia custodian Allana Kolosova to open the scoring. Sweden enjoyed most of  the possession and kept up with their indefatigable attacks but Latvia did well to shut them down,  even if only for a while. Sweden finally broke down a stubborn Latvian defence again through defender  Moa Tschop. Tschop added her second of the night minutes later, before Moa Gustafsson found space  outside the box and sent the ball flying past Kolosova to add a fourth for Sweden before the break.  Sweden carried their momentum into the second period, adding three more goals in the first five  minutes. But Latvia never gave up, continuously labouring even as the goals against them kept coming.  They finally pulled one back in the 43rd minute through forward Anna Ankudinova whose air-hook  went sailing past Sweden goalkeeper Matilda Ostlund Visen, sending the Latvian bench and supporters  to their feet. Latvia would eventually score two more goals to give themselves confidence ahead of  their 5th-8th placement match on Saturday. Sweden will face either Switzerland or Slovakia in  Saturday’s semi-finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Quotes: 

“I think it was a tough game. Latvia worked really hard in their defence so we had some difficulties in  scoring the goals. It means a lot to us to have Ida Sundberg (their captain) back on court with us. We  are really happy that she is able to play with us. I think all the Latvian players worked really hard and  also the goalkeeper had a really good game. We will have one more practice tomorrow to prepare for  the semi-finals and we will eat, rest, sleep and have some tactical talk.” – Emelie Wibron, Sweden  forward 

“We played amazing. I think this is, so far, the best game we’ve played because scoring three goals  against Sweden is something crazy for us. Not letting them score more than 15 goals like it usually  happens, it’s also a pretty good performance for us. I am proud of myself and proud of the team. When  I scored, emotions were pretty crazy. Scoring against Sweden is something you don’t experience a lot and for me, it was my first goal against them and it wasn’t just a basic goal, it was a zorro (an air-hook  goal), which I’m not sure how it happened, it just did. Giving the assist and scoring (against Sweden),  it’s cool and it’s something everyone would want to experience. We learnt how to play defence. It’s  something you can learn and train against teams which are in the top four here because you can feel  a lot of pressure from them. Even though we’re playing five against five, sometimes it can feel like  we’re in a box play (four against five). We can also learn that when we get the ball, we have to think  really fast to get rid of the ball and try to go forwards.” – Anna Ankudinova, Latvia forward 

Singapore 3-4 Japan 

#22 Amanda Yeap (30:50) #14 Yee Yun Shawn (37:48) #9 Jerelee Ong (44:02) 

#15 Natsumi Yokota (23:51) #3 Yui Goto (24:01) 

#8 Mahiro Shimizu (35:02) #19 Yu Abe (47:05) 

Misfirings and mistakes turned out to be Singapore’s undoing in the hosts’ 3-4 defeat to Japan on  Thursday in the play-off match for 9th to 12th place. Both sides were on attacking mode from the starting  whistle, though neither scored in a goalless first half as Singapore goalkeeper Shermaine Goh made  seven saves while her Japanese counterpart Miko Yamanaka made nine. With Singapore down a player  early in the second period after Yee Yun Shawn was handed a penalty for an incorrect hit, Japan scored  to lead 1-0 with Natsumi Yokota’s shot landing home. Japan doubled their lead just 10 seconds later  through captain Yui Goto. Forward Amanda Yeap scored Singapore’s first goal of the match to narrow  the deficit to one goal, but Japan pulled ahead to lead 3-1 after a long pass from Rei Goto found its  way to Mahiro Shimizu, who tapped the ball in from just outside the box. Singapore defender Yee then  scored a remarkable goal from the centre line, bringing the score to 3-2 after the second period. Jerelee  Ong then equalised, with the roars of the home crowd echoing throughout the OCBC Arena as the  spectators sensed a comeback. But their hopes were thwarted in the 48th minute, when Yu Abe scored  to give Japan the lead again. The hosts were unable to pull off a comeback after multiple missed  attempts, and will play against Norway for 11th place on Saturday. Japan will face Germany for 9th place  on Friday.  

Quotes 

“Generally, we did well, we didn’t give up even though we were down by two goals; we managed to  come back. I think what we can do better is to be a bit more clinical in our goalscoring, I think that’s  what cost us the game. But we didn’t give up at any point in time. For a match like this, it really shows  that when one team comes together, nothing can bring us down. We have a one-day break tomorrow  so we will recalibrate for our final placement match in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and definitely  try to go for the win.” – Yee Yun Shawn, Singapore defender 

“This game has been tough but our mindset was very strong. I was very happy when I scored the  winning goal and I want to thank our fans for supporting us.” – Yu Abe, Japan Player of the Match 

Tickets are available at https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/wfc2023. More match updates are available at https://app.floorball.sport/leagueorganizer/Magazine/92#/leagueorganizersite/92/start. 

Featured Image: Klook

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