Kazakhstan Beats USA 13:3 at the Bandy World Championship

Jan 31. MFA

Kazakhstan Beats USA 13:3 at the Bandy World ChampionshipKazakhstan’s bandy team won its second game of the Bandy World Championship taking place in Almaty, beating the United States 13:3 on January 30.

On the opening day of the tournament, Sunday January 29, Kazakhstan beat Norway 10:1.

Along with Russia, Finland and Sweden, Kazakhstan competes in Group A of the 6 teams which are stronger in bandy than others. A total of 14 nations compete in the tournament including such countries as Belarus, Hungary and Kyrgyzstan.

Bandy, also and perhaps better known as Russian hockey, is played on a football sized field covered with ice, with two teams battling for control of an orange ball. The goal, as in many other team sports, is to get the ball in the opponent’s net.

Bandy World Championships have been taking place since 1957, and this year’s tournament in Almaty, taking place from January 5 through February 6, is the first time it takes place in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan itself took bronze in these championships twice, in 2003 and in 2005.

The sport has a rather strong following countries of the former Soviet Union, especially Russia and Kazakhstan, with Dinamo Alma-Ata winning the USSR championship in 1979. It is also popular in the Nordic countries.

At the moment, Kazakhstan’s team, along with Russia and Sweden, stand unbeaten at the top of their Group A, but that situation is bound to change on January 31. Kazakhstan takes on Sweden, who thrashed Norway and Finland in their first two games.

The game started with a great pressing from the Kazakhstan side creating a goal on the fourth minute by Sergei Pochkun 1:0. The game continued in Kazakhstan’s favour, and after ten minutes Alexander Nasonov made it 2:0. The Americans had their first attack only in the middle of the first half. At the 26th minute USA was able to bring back one ball with the help of Tom Savatski, making it 2:1. Later Kazakhstan began to dominate on the ice and by the end of the first half they made an incredible effort to put four more goals into the net of the US squad. The American team was hopeless with their attempts, losing the ball in each area, meantime Kazakhstan’s goal glut from Andrei Morokov in 35th minute, Dmitry Zavidovsky a minute later, Vyacheslav Bronnikov at the 40th minute, and finally Alexander Nasonov who successfully completed his shot from the penalty spot made it 6:1.

The second half began at the same pace, with the waves of attacks from Kazakhstan. At the 48th minute, a breakthrough came from Andrei Morokov, however in the very next attack Michael Hosfild of the USA team managed to hit the net against Andrei Rein as well. The Americans still managed to impose on the struggle on the hosts; however Kazakhstan players were able to show their best. The home team scored five more balls, and eventually won with a score of 13:3.

Also on January 30, there were two more games in the world championship in Group A. Russia in a bitter struggle was stronger against Finland 5-4, while Sweden beat Norway 11:0.

Kazakhstan’s head coach Alexey Nikishov said after the January 30 match agains the U.S. that in general he was pleased with the game and the way his players reacted. “The bad weather harshly affected our game and tactics against the US team, making it less combinational and fast. However, the team successfully completed their duties,” Nikishov said noting that despite the large score, important games are yet to come.

The Bandy World Championship consists of three different groups. Group A has seven national bandy teams which compete to gain four top places in order to participate in the semi-finals. Four best teams of Group A have the chance to get into the final by passing through the semi-finals. In Group B, five teams from this group are not able to participate in the semi-finals this year, however the best team of this group will be able to participate in next year’s championship as a member of Group A. Meanwhile, the weakest team of Group A will drop down to Group B accordingly. The Group C consists of three teams, which for the first time are included in the Bandy World Championship. It is considered to be a try out for the teams that do not have much experience. First placed team of Group C might get the chance to play in Group B next year; however it is not completely decided yet by the Federation of International Bandy.