By Kirill Pirogov
Belarus has dropped to last but one place, being in 11th position. It occupied 8th place after the 2009 World Championship, falling to 9th position after the 2010 Vancouver Games. Following the 2010 World Championship in Germany, it was ranked 10th, with another one-point drop taking place recently.
Belarus is 105 points behind Slovakia and 40 points ahead of Latvia. Despite coming fourth at this year’s championship, Russia remains in top position. The winning team of Finland is now ranked 2nd, while silver medallist Sweden is 3rd. Canada, in turn, has dropped two positions to occupy 4th place.
The new ratings define sub-groups for the 2012 World Championship — held simultaneously in Sweden’s Stockholm and Finland’s Helsinki, under a new format. Belarus will play its preliminary round in Helsinki, against Finland, Canada, the USA, Switzerland, Slovakia, France and Kazakhstan. Another group of teams is to meet in Stockholm, comprising Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark and Italy. Each is to play just one round (previously, four quartets of 4 teams competed). As a result, all teams will play seven matches initially, with the top four squads (from each group) reaching the play-offs.