In the first round in group B, two teams will meet, which will probably fight to stay in the top division, rather than to finish the group in the first 4 places. The favorites of this group are Canada, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Kazakhstan had huge problems with the players and the coach. All naturalized players rejected to play for the national team and the Kazakh government has introduced huge penalties for them. Thus, the national team said goodbye to key players Pavel Akolzin, Dmitri Gurkov, Yegor Petukhov, Anton Sagadayev, Dmitri Shevchenko, Curtis Valk, Jesse Blacker, Darren Dietz, Yegor Shalapov, Viktor Svedberg, Ilya Rumyantsev. Most of these players were the strength of Kazakhstan and their absence will be visible at the tournament held in Finland and Latvia. In addition, there were problems with the coach, and a month before the start of the World Championship, the coach had to be changed due to sanctions. Andrej Skabiełka is Belarusian and his entry into Latvia is prohibited. He was replaced by Galym Mambetaliyev, who doesn’t have much experience in leading the national team. Kazakhstan played 4 friendly matches and defeated South Korea twice 5:0 and 8:2, but the level of South Korea is very weak, while they lost 0:3 to Russia’s U25 team and 0:6 to Belarus.
Norway is certainly not among the favorites, but they are a solid team that is unusual for falling out of the league. They played many more friendly matches this year, although they lost most of them, but they played with stronger teams like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and won two times against France. In the last World Cup, Norway easily won Kazakhstan by 3:1, where Kazakhstan was way stronger than now, so I’m going with a FULL stake in Norway’s win.