Great Britain v France - Final battle for survival arrives for GB in Kosice

WHILE little was expected of Great Britain at the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia this year, it doesn’t make the run of defeats any easier to take for those involved.

TOUGH GOING: Robert Dowd, far right, tries to stop a breakout from the USA on Wednesday in Kosice; Picture: Dean Woolley.

But despite having lost their opening six games, Pete Russell’s team know a win over France in Kosice this afternoon will be enough to earn them to remain in the top tier.

Given France have been at the top level since 2008 and finished as high as ninth just two years ago, the odds will again be stacked against the newcomers from across the English channel.

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But there has been enough encouragement over the course of the past 10 days to suggest GB could pull off what would be a famous and history-making win.

Sheffield Steelers’ Robert Dowd admits it has been tough going since an opening game that resulted in them losing 3-1 to Germany.

Defeats to Canada (8-0), Denmark (9-0), USA (6-3) Finland (5-0) and Slovakia (7-1) have followed and while Billingham-born Dowd says the mood in the camp has remained upbeat throughout, it has undoubtedly proved a testing time for all concerned in the GB camp.

“We were never expected to come here and take points off the likes of Canada, the USA, and Finland,” said Dowd, “But the struggle is the mental battle in trying to stay upbeat when you are getting beat by teams like that and in the fashion that you do.

“Everyone of us is still a competitor and when you show up to the rink, you don’t show up to get beat, you show up to win and to lose sometimes in the fashion that we have is frustrating because you want to be winning.

“We do feel we can beat a team like France. Don’t get me wrong, they are stacked like some other teams in this tournament, but we feel we can get something out of this game and make a little bit of history.”