First handball World Cup appearance in 26 years and a 28:25 at the start against Austria. And that after the craziest and most turbulent preparation that Swiss sport has probably ever seen. Madness!
Six hours before kick-off, the Swiss handball national team was somewhere around 10,000 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. She reached the stadium in Giza two hours before kick-off. But without luggage. It’s a preparation that no coach or player in the world would like. But no lament. Nobody complains. The Swiss handball players take things as they are. After all, it’s World Cup. And that’s anything but everyday stuff.
Six of the 16 players on the squad were not even born when Switzerland last took part in a World Cup in 1995. The players sit on the plane for six hours on match day. Two hours on the bus. But no trace of tired legs. And what about the nervousness? The players probably didn’t even have time to get nervous because of the short-term nature and the stress of travel.
“Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, saw and won), coach Michael Suter formulated his motto for the World Cup on Wednesday. At this point in time, he and his team were still in Schaffhausen. But his thoughts were already in Egypt. With the first opponent.
The right wing Cédrie Tynowski turns seven shots into six goals.
Samuel Röthlisberger and Alan Milosevic do great defensive work. And Andy Schmid is, as always, the absolutely sovereign and central figure in the 28:25 success, which opens the door to the main round for the Swiss.
At the end of this day for the history books, trainer Suter says: “I’m incredibly proud. And believe me, I don’t use that term very often. But such a fight after a ten-hour journey is a really big achievement. For many players, including me, it was the most important game in their career so far. Apart from a few fruits, we couldn’t eat anything before the game and then the guys do such a good job. That is hardly feasible. “
From the sofa to the world championship within 44 hours
On the Saturday after the course, coach Michael Suter said goodbye to his games with the request to quarantine at home. You never know. Perhaps Switzerland will move up for a World Cup participant.
The virus robbed the Swiss of the chance to qualify for the World Cup in a barrage against Iceland in the spring. On Tuesday evening, both the USA and the Czech Republic declare forfait for the World Cup, which opens a day later in Egypt. Around 10 p.m. it is clear: Switzerland is moving up for the USA.
The players have to be called up, the corona tests organized and a charter plane booked.
The re they are tested, after which they go into isolation in the BBC arena. Only the Bundesliga legionaries Andy Schmid and Alan Milosevic are still in Germany at this point. Schmid says: “I have to pack and wash now.
The situation is completely surreal. But I have to do that, I have to play this World Cup. I probably only have this chance this once in my life. “
The cadet players Jonas Schelker and Luka Maros are positive. Are not allowed to drive with the team to the airport on Thursday morning, where the charter plane is supposed to take off at 8 a.m.
The kick-off is at 6 p.m., ten hours from now. At 10 o’clock the machine finally takes off.
The national team also had to be patient at the airport. Image: keystone
The tests are negative and the bus is ready to leave. But the Egyptian authorities only give the green light after each one has also had a PCR smear taken.
The luggage arrives at the stadium an hour before the start of the game
The plan to check in at the hotel first is rejected. Time is too short. Because the drive to the stadium takes about one and a half hours – despite the police escort.
The national team arrives at the “Dr Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall” two hours before the start of the game. Named after the President of the International Handball Federation. Only: the luggage is missing. A hectic search begins. At 4:43 p.m., the press officer for the Swiss handball players reported: “It should come immediately for the tenth time.” Ten minutes later, a good hour before the start of the match, it’s finally here.
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