On February 22, 1980, the United States did something sensational. At the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the United States of America, which had competed with college players, defeated the overwhelming Soviet Union. The “Sbornaja” was considered unbeatable at the time. This victory was the basis for the later USA gold medal. “Do you believe in miracles?” With these words, commentator Al Michaels secured his place in hockey history at the time.
Austria experienced something like its own Lake Placid this Tuesday – albeit a little further away, namely in Finland. At the Ice Hockey World Championship, the Austrian national ice hockey team sensationally defeated the Czech Republic 3:2. It was the first win in history against the Czech Republic. “Of course it’s something important, I’m happy of course and I’ll have a beer in the hotel, but my thoughts are already with Norway,” said team boss Roger Bader after the sensational success. “In individual factors we were even stronger than against the USA. The defense was very good, the box play (note: outnumbered) world class. Despite a lot of good players, the Czechs had a hard time getting past us. It was excellent the way we played it. Today in the second break I said: no honorable defeat, we still want to turn the game around and win. The team has built a certain confidence, it would have been wrong to say when the score was 0-1, we’re resting for tomorrow (Tuesday).”
The hero of the game was Peter Schneider, who kept his nerve in the penalty shootout and paved the way for victory against his former adopted country: “It’s amazing. I’m super proud of the boys and happy because we really deserve it. We’ve worked so hard and spent countless hours talking about our system. Now everything has come together today and we have finally rewarded ourselves,” Schneider let his joy run free.
The reactions from the Czech Republic were anything but happy. The medium “isport.cz” headlined something like: “Disgrace with an outsider. The duel against the World Cup newcomer didn’t work out at all. The Czech national ice hockey team lost to Austria 2-1 after overtime.” The newspaper “denik.cz” chooses similarly drastic words: “Historical disgrace. The Czech team loses against Austria after a penalty shootout.” The Czech ice hockey legends were also harsh on the players. “It’s a shame. I was convinced that after the slap in the face against Sweden (3:5 defeat, note) there would be a rapid change. But nothing has changed at all,” former attacker Radek Duda told sport.cz.
However, the Austrian team cannot be happy for long. Already tomorrow, Tuesday at 3.20 p.m. Norway is waiting. On Friday at 7:20 p.m., the Austrian national ice hockey team will meet Latvia before taking on Finland a day later at 3:20 p.m. At the end it is against Great Britain for relegation. But maybe this can be fixed beforehand.