Friday preview: semi-finals and placement games

Aug 4, 2023 | Derek OBrien

After a grueling group stage where every team played three games in three days, all eight teams are fresh following a day off and ready for action. First up are the two placement games to decide fifth to eighth places, and then come the two semi-finals, which will determine the match-ups for tomorrow´s medal games.

 Slovakia vs Germany (game for 7th & 8th places)

Trenčín, 15:30 CET

The two fourth-place finishers from the respective groups meet in the early game in Trenčín. Both Slovakia and Germany are looking for their first win of the tournament, and one of them will get it. The Slovaks came agonizingly close to taking Wednesday’s game against Finland to overtime, conceding the game-winning goal at 59:57, and will be the favourite in this game. Germany’s only Hlinka Gretzky Cup win came two years ago in the seventh-place game – a shootout win over Switzerland.

Sweden vs Switzerland (game for 5th and 6th places)

Břeclav, 15:30 CET

Both of these teams had higher hopes going into play on Wednesday – despite winning two out of three in the group stage, they were both the odd team out on three-way tiebreakers. The Swedes won their last game but not by the number of goals they needed. They are used to being in the semi-finals and a placement game is surely a disappointment, but they’ll try to finish the tournament with a win. The Swiss won twice in the group stage for the first time ever, but even that wasn’t enough as they helplessly watched their semi-final chances evaporate from the stands with a late Finnish goal.

Canada vs USA (semi-final)

Trenčín, 19:00 CET

This match-up is always magic no matter the situation, and with a trip to the final on the line, this Canada-USA match-up promises to be worth watching. Both started the group stage with disappointing losses – Canada 9-6 to Finland and USA 7-2 to Czechia – but both rebounded to finish up strong.

The Canadians poured in 25 goals in three Group B games and, in a tournament that they usually dominate, will be favoured in this one. The big game for the Americans was a 6-1 win over Sweden, and look to go to the final for the first time since 2016.

Czechia vs Finland (semi-final)

Břeclav, 19:00 CET

The other semi-final also features two teams that took two out of three group games. The Czechs were dominant against the USA and Germany, and came on late to make it close against Sweden. The Finns started with a wild 9-6 win against Canada but then had two tight, defensive battles – a loss to Switzerland and a win over Slovakia.

The Czechs will have a good-sized home crowd supporting them, and they often do well in this tournament that they usually co-host, but will be looking for their first trip to the final since 2017. For the Finns it’s been a bit longer – their last final appearance was 2012. 

In brief

Pre-tournament games

21.6. - The final pre-tournament games will be played on Saturday, 29th July. The Czech Republic will host Canada in Břeclav at 18:30 CET, 12:30 ET. Meanwhile, Slovakia will host the USA in Trenčín at 17:00 CET. Coverage of these games will be available at

Instagram of HGC

1.6. - The official instagram of Hlinka Gretzky Cup is availible here.

Interested in history?

6.2. - Do you know who won the Cup last year? Which team has won the most gold medals? HERE you can review the history.
History of the hockey legend

Information about Ivan Hlinka

More about the legend