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Thread: 2019 WC Div IIA, Belgrade, Serbia april 9-15

  1. #1
    IHF Member sloklo's Avatar
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    2019 WC Div IIA, Belgrade, Serbia april 9-15

    Hi guys.

    WC Div II A is coming up.
    So any predictions?

    Without knowing how the rosters will look like for the teams I can only have a prediction based a combination of feelings and some common sense.

    I must also say that Im not too fond of the new look of IIHFs site and information on it. I miss the early rosters that were common on the old site.

    However:
    I suppose Croatia would be the main favorite. Even though they fell out the Div IB last year they didnt make fools out of themselves. They were only one point from keeping them in that division and had a respectable win against Ukraine. This could sure be the indication of enough strength to turn them back to the division above.


    Who could challenge them?
    My opinion is that Spain had a bad seasons two years ago and their fast turning back to this level will show that they belong to the top teams in this group.

    Another interesting challenger could be the host Serbia.
    2019 have so far been a fantastic year for Serbian hockey. Both U20 and U18 earned promotions and Red Star (Crvena Zvezda) won the International league hosted by the Slovenian federation.
    Its a bit of a surprise though because neither the problems within the federation, the bad relations between the two Belgrade clubs nor the catastrophic infrastructural situation has been solved.
    Th youth teams showed a more or less fanatic fighting spirit and had some really good players that already are knocking on the door to the senior squad. A NT mixed with older, experienced players and hungry youngsters is possible. The question is if it would be too early for that mix to challenge?

    As for the Aussies I really dont know. At their best moments my feeling is that they can compete with anyone and even be a true challenger. I would put them after Spain and Serbia but without beeing 100% sure.

    The two teams that in my opinion will not take part as challengers is China and Belgium. My tip is that Belgium will leave this level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloklo View Post
    Hi guys.

    WC Div II A is coming up.
    So any predictions?

    Without knowing how the rosters will look like for the teams I can only have a prediction based a combination of feelings and some common sense.

    I must also say that Im not too fond of the new look of IIHFs site and information on it. I miss the early rosters that were common on the old site.
    For the entry lists for all 2019 tournaments, see here: http://stats.iihf.com/index2019i.html

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    Hello,
    I agree with sloklo a thank you Tom93.
    My prediction without roster information: 1. CRO (SRB), 2. SRB (CRO), 3. AUS, 4. ESP, 5. CHN, 6. BEL.

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    This tournament could end up in many ways depending who show up on the final rosters. I'm surprised that China looks like it's not going to have it's KHL players like Brandon Yip and Zach Yuen on their team. There was an article about Yip on IIHF:s page a short while ago which mentioned issues getting a chinese passport which seems kind of odd, but I's likely the explanation for their absence. Though Rudi Ying, Zesen Zhang and Qianyi Huang seem to be developing into decent players I still would rank China to the bottom of the group.

    Croatia will be without injured Rendulic which will hurt them a lot. Then again none of the other teams have any "superstars" who can almost single handedly turn the games around. For some reason I believe Australia will do well this year so my prediction is as follows:
    1. AUS, 2. SRB, 3. ESP, 4. CRO, 5 BEL, 6. CHN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hokidudefromfinland View Post
    This tournament could end up in many ways depending who show up on the final rosters. I'm surprised that China looks like it's not going to have it's KHL players like Brandon Yip and Zach Yuen on their team. There was an article about Yip on IIHF:s page a short while ago which mentioned issues getting a chinese passport which seems kind of odd, but I's likely the explanation for their absence. Though Rudi Ying, Zesen Zhang and Qianyi Huang seem to be developing into decent players I still would rank China to the bottom of the group.

    Croatia will be without injured Rendulic which will hurt them a lot. Then again none of the other teams have any "superstars" who can almost single handedly turn the games around. For some reason I believe Australia will do well this year so my prediction is as follows:
    1. AUS, 2. SRB, 3. ESP, 4. CRO, 5 BEL, 6. CHN.
    China does not allow you to keep foreign nationality if you naturalize. Yuen and co. are likely hesitant to renounce their North American citizenship and the Chinese government is not yet desperate enough to bend the rules.

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    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom93 View Post
    China does not allow you to keep foreign nationality if you naturalize. Yuen and co. are likely hesitant to renounce their North American citizenship and the Chinese government is not yet desperate enough to bend the rules.
    The Chinese government believes by citizenship though parents. With the number of expats in China, there are strong rumors that dual nationality may become tolerated. Since China says you are not a citizen until 18 (supposedly, only adults can apply for an actual passport), this may only apply to people gaining Chinese citizenship after some other nationality. Of course, that would also be an incredibly handy cover for "we suck at winter sports but we applied and spent our way to winning the Olympic bid."
    Bringing ice hockey to Northwest China!

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  7. #7
    IHF Member Snapshot's Avatar
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    Croatia is slightly favourite in game against Serbia, but again it is just one game everything is possible. We will miss our two top forwards in Rendulić and Blagus :(

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    Three close games on day1 which were arguably all surprises. Leaves the outcome wide open.

    https://www.iihf.com/en/events/2019/wmiia/schedule

    ESP 5 CHN 3
    BEL 4 AUS 3 ot
    SRB 3 CRO 1

  9. #9
    IHF Member sloklo's Avatar
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    Well, I can’t argue with you GeoffH. The outcome is truly open. Spain had more troubles with China than I expected. So the question here is wether Spain is weaker than I thought or if it’s possibly China that is better than expected? Or are they both at the same level? The same question could be asked about the Aussies and Belgium.

    As for tonights grand game, the one between Serbia and Croatia it’s also difficult to see how they really are. Both teams struggled during the game. It might have beeen the nerves but... Neither of the two teams impressed much but it might be hard when the first game of the tournament is assumed, by many, to be the final. Croatia surely missed Rendulic and Blagus but they had a really good chance with a long PP which was badly played. My opnion is that Serbia was slightly better and wanted the victory slightly more. The win is well deserved.
    Both keepers Rosandic and Rankovic were really good tonight. I would also say that Pavel Popravka was really good and might have been, together with Rankovic, the little touch who gave Serbia the advatage.

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    Hard to see any of the teams staying undefeated, unless Serbia can, so any of the six could still win.

    Geoff

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    IHF Member Snapshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloklo View Post
    Well, I cant argue with you GeoffH. The outcome is truly open. Spain had more troubles with China than I expected. So the question here is wether Spain is weaker than I thought or if its possibly China that is better than expected? Or are they both at the same level? The same question could be asked about the Aussies and Belgium.

    As for tonights grand game, the one between Serbia and Croatia its also difficult to see how they really are. Both teams struggled during the game. It might have beeen the nerves but... Neither of the two teams impressed much but it might be hard when the first game of the tournament is assumed, by many, to be the final. Croatia surely missed Rendulic and Blagus but they had a really good chance with a long PP which was badly played. My opnion is that Serbia was slightly better and wanted the victory slightly more. The win is well deserved.
    Both keepers Rosandic and Rankovic were really good tonight. I would also say that Pavel Popravka was really good and might have been, together with Rankovic, the little touch who gave Serbia the advatage.
    Puzic also is big missing. He is reliable defender in his own zone who can eat up ton of minutes.

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    Just when I thought Serbia were strong favourites they lose to Australia. That’s why we follow sport.

    Geoff

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    Other games from day two saw Croatia bounce back and smash China 7-0 and Spain beat Belgium 4-2. I guess Spain don't want to return to Group B again.

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    Round 3 results

    - Croatia 5-2 Belgium
    - Australia 4-0 Spain
    - Serbia 6-5 China

    Standings
    - Australia - 7pts
    - Croatia - 6pts
    - Serbia - 6pts
    - Spain - 6pts
    - Belgium - 2pts
    - China - 0pts

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    A big comeback by Serbia from 2-5 down against China, keeps them in contention. Still four teams in contention.

    Geoff

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    IHF Member fikret's Avatar
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    Very bad game from Serbia against China.
    The team who have just one senior team, one junior team in whole country, not deserve it to play division 1B. It is not normal.

    I wish Australia, Spain or Croatia to be first and to play division 1B. Serbia doesnt have future in ice hockey and it is better not to dream of a funny dreams.

    By the way, i want to ask something about yesterday game aganinst China.

    Coach of Serbia pull of goalie at the end of game, and we score last goal with 6 players on ice with empty net. So, my question is this was logical move or not?

    Ok, we want first place(and becouse of that it is maybe logical move), but this move was a gambling move with catastrophic consequences on tournament for Serbia.
    If China score the goal on empty net, then even the relegation is option for Serbia if we lose against Belgium and Spain. So, asking you all...is this move from Serbian coach was logical or not logical?

    thanks.
    A-light-in-the-dark: Sofia Bulgaria, Skopje Macedonia, Sarajevo & Pristina :)

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    IHF Member sloklo's Avatar
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    You have some good points. Still I dont want to agree with everything. Of course Serbia should run for the first place. And if theres no future for Serbian hockey? Well, think about why the other nations in the group play at this level. Its not only in the infrastructure but also in talent. As for the moment I hope Serbia will reach the next level even if its maybe too much to expect. Especially with the perfomances they had against Australia and China. And the importance is not for this generation but for the youngsters from U20 and U18 that played really good hockey and earned promotions. Why give up on them? The situation is not new in serbian hockey. Yet we still manage too move on.
    t
    As for the NT now, in playing moment, theres a lot to say. My opinion is that we still have the best team on the paper. But a foolish desicionmaking put on in this situation.

    We know that most of the team comes from Red Star and they ahd full seasons for two years in a row. This year they won slovenian league in great style. They even had some other nice international results with reaching the second round of Continental cup and beating Jesenice - a wet dream all of the post-yugoslav hockeyworld.
    In a way we had our NT kept together for the entire season.
    We also knew that the play-offs in Interleague (slovenian...) would collide with the final preparations for NT before WC. The Red Star players joint very late and propably very tired - both physically and mentaly.
    Why on earth did then we bring in a foreign coach?? And espcially one with no experience of serb hockey? Theres no critics to our NT-coach but it was unfaire both to him and to the team. He learned to know most of the players that he wouldt bring along better than the actual guys who were supposed to play.

    My opinion is that the most logical solution would have been to keep Jovica Rus ( Red Star coach) and along with him Nemanja Jankovic who did really well along with Perowne in U20 and on his own with U18. Both know the players really well and Rus knew what shape his players were in. They should know more less exactly what to do with this team with no time to proper preparations.
    Instead we have this...

    A quite good game against Croatia, and two catastrophic performances agains Australia and China. You couldnt see any tactical lines. Some half-hearted dump and chase, terrible problems to start playing out of their own zone, very slow and tired. Aussies used it well. How we managed to around the game against China is a mystery. I feel sorry for China.

    If there were any justice so far, Australia should be the moral winners of the tournament. Yet I will not stop hoping...

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    Australia still in pole position but a win for Croatia would give them, or more likely Serbia, a chance to top the group.

    Great event with so many close games.

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    Round 4 results

    - China 2-3 Australia
    - Spain 3-4 SO Croatia
    - Belgium 3-6 Serbia

    Standings
    - Australia - 10pts
    - Serbia - 9pts
    - Croatia - 8pts
    - Spain - 7pts
    - Belgium - 2pts
    - China - 0pts

    Without any certainty there is now a massive chance Serbia will get promotion. That's assuming though Croatia is favourite to beat Australia and Serbia beats Spain. Although Spain did just take Croatia to a shootout so they must be over their 4-0 shutout against Australia. China also seems to be getting better as we progress and only had the game stolen from them yesterday late in the third period. Belgium could still end up relegated. It's going to be an interesting final day.

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    IHF Member fikret's Avatar
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    I dont see that Croatia is a favorite against Australia. Australia has a big chance to be first in this group, totaly deserved it.

    Serbia is also not a favorite against Spain.

    But, all in all...this level of hockey is far away from division 1B.
    A-light-in-the-dark: Sofia Bulgaria, Skopje Macedonia, Sarajevo & Pristina :)

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    Croatia just beat Australia 2-1 and currently lead the tournament. I believe Serbia only needs an overtime win against Spain to gain promotion now.

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    Round 5 results

    - Croatia 2-1 Australia
    - China 4-0 Belgium
    - Serbia 3-2 SO Spain

    Standings
    - Serbia - 11pts
    - Croatia - 11pts
    - Australia - 10pts
    - Spain - 8pts
    - China - 3pts
    - Belgium - 2pts

    Serbia scraps through for promotion with their shootout win against Spain. Croatia finishes second, equal on points with Serbia and Australia finishes third. Probably wish they had beaten Belgium at the start of the tournament. Belgium ends up being shutout by China and is relegated.

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    Turns out the Belgium win over Australia was critical. Congrats to Serbia who just headed the pack. Will be tough to stay up next year.

    Geoff

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    IHF Member fikret's Avatar
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    Big succes for Serbia

    Big thanks to players.

    Big thanks to Slovenian ice hockey federation for letting Crvena Zvezda to play in their champioship in U16, U18 and senior competition in last 2-3 year. Withou them, Serbia has quality just for division 2B.

    Big thanks to Crvena Zvezda who saved Serbian hockey for last 2-3 years.

    Hockey federation of Serbia is horrible organization without any plans and idea.


    A-light-in-the-dark: Sofia Bulgaria, Skopje Macedonia, Sarajevo & Pristina :)

  25. #25
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    Well, it certainly was a strange tournament. I thought that final was played already in the first game between Serbia and Croatia. Once Serbia won I thought that no one could stop them. The two other games Serbia played were awful. No structure, no speed and looked so tired. Yet really good will.
    After two rounds both Spain and especially Australia showed the best hockey even though the Aussies lost their first game.
    Serbia had a really lucky win against China and no one could see a promotion coming at that point. By that time Croatia found better speed and played quite more better than in their first game.

    Australia beat themselves in their last game. It might also been a sign that they werent quite ready yet to promote. Once Croatia found themselves it showed their true capacity.

    However the last days drama seemed only dedicated to Serbias promotion. Australias melt- down when it was most needed, Croatias heroic effort and the dramatic finish when Aussies had both PP1 and PP2 and their goalie pulled without scoring.
    And then Serbias half melt- down when loosing a early lead to 1:2 and with a huge effort a quite a luck they managed to score 2:2 with 28 secs to go. The following three on three and penalties is a lottery and Serbia were luckier.

    All in all its hard to say wether the teams were more even in quality or wether the group generally was weaker then past years. All the teams had real oscillations and no team played all their games good. Serbia won thanks to some luck but also an extremly will to win. My opinion is that it was the strongest team with the best potentials even though their performances were a bit unstable.

    With their performances and oscillations I cant see any of the teams to be a challenger to remain divIb. Serbia though have more potentials in young hungry players. But they have to change their work with the NT. They cant put the team together just a couple a weeks before WC. Their must be more camps and training games next season.

    My personal favourite team at WC

    GK: Rosandic (CRO)

    Defenders: Morisson (CRO) and Boskovic (SRB)

    Forwards: Djumic (SRB), Rezek (AUS) and Jankovic (CRO)

  26. #26
    IHF Member Snapshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloklo View Post
    Well, it certainly was a strange tournament. I thought that final was played already in the first game between Serbia and Croatia. Once Serbia won I thought that no one could stop them. The two other games Serbia played were awful. No structure, no speed and looked so tired. Yet really good will.
    After two rounds both Spain and especially Australia showed the best hockey even though the Aussies lost their first game.
    Serbia had a really lucky win against China and no one could see a promotion coming at that point. By that time Croatia found better speed and played quite more better than in their first game.

    Australia beat themselves in their last game. It might also been a sign that they werent quite ready yet to promote. Once Croatia found themselves it showed their true capacity.

    However the last days drama seemed only dedicated to Serbias promotion. Australias melt- down when it was most needed, Croatias heroic effort and the dramatic finish when Aussies had both PP1 and PP2 and their goalie pulled without scoring.
    And then Serbias half melt- down when loosing a early lead to 1:2 and with a huge effort a quite a luck they managed to score 2:2 with 28 secs to go. The following three on three and penalties is a lottery and Serbia were luckier.

    All in all its hard to say wether the teams were more even in quality or wether the group generally was weaker then past years. All the teams had real oscillations and no team played all their games good. Serbia won thanks to some luck but also an extremly will to win. My opinion is that it was the strongest team with the best potentials even though their performances were a bit unstable.

    With their performances and oscillations I cant see any of the teams to be a challenger to remain divIb. Serbia though have more potentials in young hungry players. But they have to change their work with the NT. They cant put the team together just a couple a weeks before WC. Their must be more camps and training games next season.

    My personal favourite team at WC

    GK: Rosandic (CRO)

    Defenders: Morisson (CRO) and Boskovic (SRB)

    Forwards: Djumic (SRB), Rezek (AUS) and Jankovic (CRO)
    You mean few days...

    Croatian future, at least from my POW, is very bleak. For example, one of the best forwards Miličić (23 yrs) declined this year, he has job and practically that means he is done with serious (or half serious) hockey. Janković was our top scorer, but I remember he played much better and think he underachieved in Belgrade and was outplayed by his linemate akić. Rest of the team is either old or borderline useless for anything more than grinding role in D2A. When you account that our U20 can't beat Israel with more than one goal, it won't take long before we start to fight for survival in this division.

  27. #27
    IHF Member sloklo's Avatar
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    Well, how true. Red Star-players as I understood joined right after their play-off in Sloliga/Interliga with just a couple of days to go. And as I said propably very tired and with a coach they didnt know at all.
    And if we can put it that way: Serbia was 28 secs from disaster and Croatia was 28 secs from success.

    As for "Jankovic vs Sakic" I had Sakic in mind too but for some reason Jankovic fits my option for hockey.

    Still, besides the luck Serbia actually had, I have some beliefe in Serbian squad. Im sure that they can a little better than this but under better circumstances. However surviving in divIB would be like an Olympic gold. For me its more important that the seniors shows that it is possible to reach higher level and "show the way" to the succesful U20 and U18.
    Thats a difference between croatian and serb hockey at the moment. Serbia have some really good youngsters. Djumic was already voted as the best offensive player at this tournament at an age of 20. Viktor Kastel and Dragovic played very good too at this WC. There are a couple more and the U20 won their WC in great style which gives some hopes. Croatia seems to drop a bit. The situation was really different just a couple a years ago.

    Yet as Fikret said this success comes out of nowhere. Its not a result of federations hard work and efforts. The situation within seems still to be chaotic, the "rivalty" between sports clubs of Red Star and Partizan goes beyond a normality and this affects even more a small sport as icehockey in Serbia.
    It would be interesting to see if this succes will change anything.

    Finally, as a last comment on this WC I pleased as I said to see that the youngsters in the team did really well. Beside the I was surprised by defenceman Boskovic. Didnt see this kind of level from him before.
    Sretovic played his last (and did it well!)WC (at least he said so) and I suppose that it could be so for Popravka.

  28. #28
    IHF Member Snapshot's Avatar
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    Don't forget Dragović. He didn't look out of the place in senior squad. Next season maybe Savovic will make his debut. Given the level he plays in USA, he may be headed to some NCAA D1 college. Probably the weaker one, but still I would take even weak D1 team over better CIS one's.

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