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Four days after the final of the 2009 IIHF World Championship and 358 days before the first face-off for the 2010 IIHF World Championship from May 7 until May 23, the opponents of the world record opening game are known. The German team will meet the team of the USA on May 7, 2010 in the VELTINS-Arena of Gelsenkirchen in front of a planned 75,976 people. This was now confirmed by the IIHF.
USA: One of the great Teams in World Ice Hockey
Thus the Germans are meeting a team which has strongly caught attention during the just finished IIHF World Championship in Switzerland and which has secured itself a place among the world's very top teams. Team USA finished the tournament on a fourth place, loosing only 2:3 in the semi-final against the later World Champion Russia. On its way to the semi-final, the USA could eliminate Team Finland in the quarter-final. With this result, the USA advanced to the fifth spot on the world ranking, having left behind the multiple world champion Czech Republic. The US Boys can look back on a long success list: twice a gold medal winner, seven times silver and one bronze medal at Olympic Games, two IIHF World Championship titles plus nine second and five third places* as well as a victory at the World Cup of Hockey 1996 have made the USA become one of the very great teams in the history of World Ice Hockey. In direct comparison with the GERMAN team, the USA is leading by 56 victories against 25 losses and nine draws. The last game of the two teams resulted in a 6:4 victory for Team USA on the occasion of the 2008 IIHF World Championship qualification round. The last victory of the German team was a 4:2 in a friendly game in Cologne in November 2007.
Groups and Venues confirmed
With the results of the IIHF World Championship, Switzerland as well as with those of the Division 1 tournaments (Kazakhstan and Italy promoted), the four groups, 16 teams and their venues at the 2010 IIHF World Championship are now confirmed:
Group A: Russia, Belarus, Slovakia, Kazakhstan
Group B: Canada, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy
Group C: Sweden, Czech Republic, Norway, France
Group D: Finland, USA, Germany, Denmark
Venue for Groups A and D is Cologne/LANXESS arena with the exception of the opening game Germany vs. USA on May 7, 2010 in Gelsenkirchen/VELTINS-Arena. The groups B and C will play in Mannheim/SAP ARENA. The final game schedule is still to be confirmed.
Since the start of ticket sales, over 70,000 tickets could already be sold even though team allocations were still unknown. The available first contingent of 60,000 tickets for the opening game Germany vs. USA was sold immediately. The second sales stage will now start on May 22, 2009. By then, further tickets for the opening game as well as packages for the preliminary-, qualification – and the final round - with now allocated teams, groups and venues - will be available. Further information on ticket sales will follow shortly.
*partly counted within Olympic Games