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Floorball Men's Claimed 5th Place In Inaugural 3v3 World Floorball Championships

NZ Men’s debut at inaugural World Floorball Championships 3v3 2024 in Lahti, Finland | PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The New Zealand Men’s 3v3 team was the surprise package of the inaugural IFF’s 3v3 World Floorball Championships, held over two days in Lahti, Finland on 11 and 12 May 2024.

The NZ Men started their pool play with a huge upset of European floorball superpower Czechia on Saturday morning, building an unanticipated 4-0 lead and hanging on with tenacious defence to earn the shock 6-5 victory.

The Kiwis’ second match saw them crash back down to earth with a 12-4 loss to France.

The last pool game for NZ against the Netherlands looked to be heading in a similar direction, with the Dutch building an early lead. The Kiwi men fought back and scored twice in the final three minutes to earn a 7-7 draw.

The results from the three matches were good enough to earn New Zealand a rematch with the Czechs, who topped the pool, in the round of 16 playoff match.

The Kiwis again came out strong, building another 4-0 lead, before the Czechs stormed back to tie the match 7-7 at full time.

The game was decided in a tense and extended penalty shootout, with NZ earning an historic win after veteran goalkeeper Christian Bertschinger stopped the final Czech shot, following successful conversions for the Kiwis from Tim Mckibbin, Tomas Stein and Matthew Bertschinger.

The win earned the Kiwis an unlikely spot in the quarterfinals, where they went down 23-5 to eventual tournament winner and inaugural 3v3 WFC champion - Latvia. With no grading games after the quarterfinal, our New Zealand Men’s team claimed 5th place out of 28 teams in the inaugural 3v3 World Floorball Championships.

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