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Latvian coach says beating Russia at 2019 IIHF World Championship to be ‘extremely tough’

Russia currently tops its Group B with 12 points while Latvia is ranked 5th with six points

BRATISLAVA, May 17. /TASS/. The Latvian national ice hockey team is faced with an extremely difficult task of trying to win over Russia on Saturday at the 2019 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, Latvia’s Head Coach Artis Abols told journalists on Friday.

"This task [of defeating Russia] is awfully tough and this possible win would not be enough if it is added up to a possible win over Norway on the last day of the group stage competitions in order to proceed to the quarterfinals round," Abols stated.

"It is obvious for everyone where we stand and where Russia stands," the Latvian head coach continued. "Russia seems to be much stronger judging by paper match reports, but anything can happen in a particular match."

"We are able to play from the very first and until the very last second and we proved it at the [IIHF] World Championship two years ago," Abols added.

The 2019 IIHF World Championship is hosted by Slovakia between May 10 and 26. The participating teams were divided into Groups A and B. Group A is playing matches in Slovakia’s Kosice and includes hosts Slovakia, Canada, the United States, Finland, Germany, Denmark, France and Great Britain.

Group B is playing matches in Bratislava and enlists teams from Sweden, Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.

Russia currently tops its Group B with 12 points while Latvia is ranked 5th with six points.

Slovakia offers two venues for hosting matches of the championship and they are the country’s capital of Bratislava and the country’s second largest city of Kosice. Each city hosts 28 matches of the group stage as well as two quarterfinals.