Latvia braces for hockey mania

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On Tuesday Latvia lost to Denmark 0:3 in its sole exhibition match prior to qualifiers for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It marked the return of Haralds Vasiļjevs as head coach after fifteen years, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Vasiļjevs was skeptical over the performance of Team Latvia in the upcoming qualifiers.

"We have to try to correct something in one day and we'll try not to fail. [The first match] will be one of crucial importance in the tournament," the coach said. 

While the players struck a more optimistic note. "I think everything will be perfect for the next game," said star player Zemgus Girgensons.

Latvia is to open the Olympic qualification tournament at Arena Riga on Thursday against Austria. On Friday Latvia will play against Japan, and against Germany on Sunday.

The winner of the group will qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

LTV7 and LSM's Latvian-language service will broadcast the games, with the game against Austria screened on Thursday at 7.30 p.m. GMT+3.

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