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Russia to open 2020 IIHF World Championships with match against hosts Switzerland

The Russian national team has been placed in Group B, together with hosts Switzerland, the United States, Latvia, Norway, Finland, Italy and Kazakhstan

MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. The Russian national men’s ice hockey team will begin the 2020 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championships with a match against Switzerland, the IIHF press office announced on Thursday.

The 2020 IIHF World Championships will be hosted by the Swiss cities of Zurich and Lausanne between May 8 and 24.

"The four games of the championship’s opening day will see Olympic and World Championship medal winners of the past few years go head-to-head," the statement reads.

"Host Switzerland will open the World Championship in the evening game of May 8 against Russia in a battle between recent medalists at the 11,200-seat Hallenstadion in Zurich that was reopened in 2005 after a year-long interior renovation," according to the statement.

"Russia won bronze earlier this year in Bratislava while Switzerland claimed the silver medals one year ago in Copenhagen," according to the statement.

The Russian national team has been placed in Group B for the 2020 IIHF World Championships together with hosts Switzerland, the United States, Latvia, Norway, Finland, Italy and Kazakhstan.

"The afternoon game of the opening day in Switzerland’s largest city will feature defending world champion Finland against Team USA," the statement continued. "The other teams in Group B in Zurich will start on Saturday, May 9 with the games Italy-USA, Latvia-Norway and Switzerland-Kazakhstan."

Group A features the national teams from Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus and the Great Britain.

"Set to be inaugurated next month, the new 9,500-seat Malley Arena in Lausanne will feature recent silver medalist Canada facing Germany in the afternoon of May 8," according to the statement. "Sweden, the back-to-back world champion in 2017 and 2018, will then play the Czech Republic in the evening game."

The matches of Group B teams will be played in Zurich, while the national squads from Group A will be facing off each other in the city of Lausanne, which is only a two-hour train ride from Zurich.

Earlier this year, the national ice hockey team of Finland won its third title of the world championships after defeating Canada 3-1 in the final of the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

The official website of the 2020 IIHF World Championships also announced that the ticket sales for the tournament had been already rolled out.

"The ticket sale for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has already started with the first stage in which preliminary round, final round and arena packages are currently available for each of the two venues," according to the organizers.

"In the next stage Day Tickets will become available… September 10, 2019 with more information to be announced at the end of August on IIHF.com and the IIHF Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and VK pages," the statement from the organizers added.