There are only 30 days left until the first game of Floorball is played at the 2022 World Games. The next team in our countdown to compete in July in Birmingham, Alabama is the AOFC region representative, in Thailand!
The journey to the World Games in 2022 began at 2020 Floorball World Championships in Helsinki last December where the top 5 finishing countries, top AOFC teams and top AMER teams would qualify alongside the hosts UNITED STATES for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, United States.
Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Swiss were the first to qualify followed by Thailand who beat the Philippines in a tense shootout for 13th place and qualification in Birmingham and Canada which finished 12th and was the highest ranked AMER country. Latvia completed the World Games lineup by beating Norway for 5th place.
Thailand are making their World Games debut as they did not compete in Wrocław, in 2017. In Birmingham, they will also be the first team from the AOFC region to play Floorball at the World Games, achieving this privilege at the World Championships in Helsinki last December. They went through the group stage with a victory against the United States (9-3) and two defeats against European opponents (6-8 against Poland and 15-2 against Slovakia). This put Thailand in the playoff bracket for places 13-16. In their 13-16 first round tie they faced other AOFC opponents with Singapore controlling the game to emerge 11-6 winners. The victory put Thailand in the match for 13th position, where they would face new rivals the Philippines. Both teams had Sweden-based players in their squads and the games are very close between the two. Regulation time could not divide the two as it ended 8-8, with extra time also failing to produce a winner. A shootout was therefore necessary to decide who would get the 13th position at the World Championships and a place at the World Games as the best team in the AOFC region. The shootout was very tense and nervous with a number of missed shots and good saves from both goalies. It was Thailand, however, who held on to their lead in the shootout to emerge victorious and book their trip to the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July.
Photo: Anssi Koskinen
Thailand recently participated in the WFCQ 2022 AOFC men’s event in Singapore to qualify for the World Championships in November 2022. This event not only helped the team develop tactics, game plans and team cohesion. team, but was also a good barometer to pit them against other AOFC teams. . Thailand won their group stage beating New Zealand 10-1, Malaysia 11-2 and Singapore 9-1 (which was an improvement from their 11-6 win over Singapore at WFC 2020), making them group winners and qualifying for the World Championships. . They faced the Philippines in the AOFC WFCQ Final beating them 6-4, making it Thailand’s third straight victory over the Philippines. Thailand have shown in recent competitions that they are the best team in the AOFC and will look to represent themselves and the region as best they can at the World Games in July.
Expectations for Thailand at these World Games will be low due to the high skill level of the European teams, which means their main competition will be the two AMER teams. Thailand are in a tough group with reigning World Games and 2020 World Champions Sweden, World Games silver medalist Switzerland and a strong Latvian team that finished 5th at the 2020 World Championships. Read more about the July contest here.
Photo: Dennis Lim, Singapore Floorball Series
What will Thailand do at the World Games in Alabama? Only time will tell, but this is a team made up of young talent mixed with leadership and experience. They hope to create a big upset in the group stages and at least be the most successful team outside of Team Europe with an experienced and proven squad looking to cement their status as the best team outside of Europe. Check out the list of Thailand teams at the World Games here.
The previous edition in 2017 in Wrocław was won by Sweden, beating Switzerland in the final, 7-5. Finland came in 3rd, followed by the Czech Republic in 4th, the United States in 5th and Poland in 6th.
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