Floorball: Uphill task for S'pore women's team to reach world c'ships play-off round

SINGAPORE – With one loss and a draw in the group stage, Singapore now face an uphill task if they are to advance in the Women’s World Floorball Championships.

They drew 5-5 with the National Floorball Federation of Russia (NFFR) at the IFU Arena in Uppsala, Sweden on Sunday (Nov 28).

The Russians were 2-0 up after seven minutes but Singapore pulled one back through Ong Ying Rui in the 12th minute. Good saves by both goalkeepers kept the score at 2-1 after the first period.

Angela Model later equalised for Singapore 10 minutes into the second period before two goals in quick succession through captain Michelle Lok and Shannon Yeo gave the Republic the lead.

The Europeans then levelled the score through Anastasiia Bulbash and Mariia Basargina, who scored her second of the game in the 10th minute of the last period.

The final 10 minutes of the match saw frantic pressing by both sides and the Russians appeared set for victory after Mariia Kitaeva scored with just one minute left.

But Model grabbed a last-second equaliser and her second goal of the game to earn a point for her team.

Captain Michelle Lok, 27, said: “We felt more confident today and enjoyed the game more. The team did not give up until the last whistle was blown. (In the last 10 minutes, we) focused on converting our shots into goals, as the game was not over yet.

“We had hoped for a win to put ourselves in a good position for top two in the group. Nevertheless, I am glad the team fought and scored the equaliser with four seconds left.

“Though it may seem like the odds are against us, I am confident that my team will fight hard to finish in the top two. No matter what the results are, I am already proud of my team.”

The result takes Singapore level on points with the Russians with one point each.

In the other Group D match on Sunday, Norway thrashed Estonia 11-1 to make it two wins in two and lead the group with four points.

Estonia, who beat Singapore 4-3 on Saturday, are second with two points. The top two teams in Group D will qualify for the first play-off round.

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The team will take on ninth-ranked Norway in their final group stage match on Monday.

National coach Lim Jin Quan, 29, said: “We had a nervous start but I strongly believed in the team’s resilience. The scoreline did not affect our morale and we managed to pull through.

“We were gunning for the win. However, watching the team bounced back from their mistakes was truly heartening.

“The team defended well against the technically strong opponents. We were able to deny their goal-scoring opportunities. We are approaching tomorrow’s match with an open mind and will be gunning for the best against the strong opponents.

“We will give our all and play with no regrets.”

At the last edition in 2019 held in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Singapore finished a historic 12th place. Their previous best position was 16th, achieved in 2015 and 2017.

Singapore is the next host, staging it in 2023, nearly two decades after the Republic last hosted the event in 2005.

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