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Swiss U19 national team finishes 2nd at this year's Airport Trophy

This weekend saw the twelfth edition of the Airport Trophy, an international handball tournament for junior national teams. This year's edition in Kloten came with some changes: instead of the usual participants Spain and France, the teams from Montenegro and Poland competed this time. Together with the regulars from Germany and host Switzerland, the tournament promised exciting encounters at the highest level. Due to the schedule of regular league play as well as the upcoming U21 World Championships, this year the nations' U19 teams competed against each other. Germany and Montenegro used the Airport Trophy as preparation for the U19 World Championship in Croatia, which will take place in August.


The Swiss team started the tournament strongly and convinced with a dominant victory against Montenegro. Although Switzerland still had to admit defeat to Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers a while ago, this time they had no trouble deciding the match in their favor. On the second day of play, they faced Poland and the match was even for a long time. In the end, thanks to their good team spirit and fighting spirit, the Swiss kept the upper hand and won 37:35.


Since Germany had also won their first two games convincingly, the last game of the tournament was the final between the two teams. Switzerland started the match very well in front of a full crowd in the Ruebisbachhalle in Kloten. Goalkeeper Kusnandar excelled with numerous saves against the Germans, who seemed at a loss at times. Nevertheless, the German team did not let itself be shaken off, and the game remained even until the final minutes. But then the Swiss team showed nerves. In the final minutes, they missed several promising chances, while the German opponents created good opportunities and converted them without mercy. In the end, Switzerland had to admit defeat with a tight 31:33.


In summary, the Swiss team showed a strong performance throughout the tournament and finished in a well-deserved 2nd place. They proved that they can keep up even against strong opponents like Germany and Poland. On an individual level, right wing Gino Steenaerts stood out: After his strong performance in the playoff final series with HC Kriens-Luzern against Kadetten Schaffhausen a few days earlier, he also impressed this weekend with a total of 28 goals and was crowned the top scorer of the tournament.



Despite the hot weather, the tournament was well attended. The three-day event was made possible by more than 70 volunteers from the clubs HC Bülach, HC Rorbas and HC Kloten. The program was complemented by the Mobiliar Kids Day on Saturday morning, where more than 50 primary school students had the opportunity to train together with the Swiss national players Manuela Brütsch and Cédrie Tynowski.


The next edition of the Airport Trophy is already planned for June 2024, with teams from Spain and France likely to be involved again. This will allow the Swiss to prepare ideally for the upcoming U20 European Championships.




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