First time Finland reach Europeans top four since 1997

  • Skip Oona Kauste leads Finland into semi-final berth Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Russia beat Denmark by 8-5 in Wednesday evening's final women's round-robin session at the Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015 in the Granly Hockey Arena in Esbjerg, Denmark, to finish top of the rankings and set up a repeat game against the Danes, who ranked fourth overall, in the semi-final.

The other semi-final will be between second-placed Scotland, who beat Norway by 9-4, and Finland who beat Estonia in this session by 7-4. The Finns had the same won six, lost three record as Denmark but ranked third ahead of them because they had beaten Denmark earlier in the round-robin.

In the second end of the game between Russia and Denmark, Russia's skip Anna Sidorova drew her final stone into the house to score four points and take a 4-1 lead, while in the fourth end, she played a hit and roll take-out to score another two points for a 6-2 lead. The result was an 8-5 win for Russia.

Finland faced Estonia, knowing that a win would book then a place in the semi-final and, in the fourth end their skip Oona Kauste drew into the four-foot ring for one point for a 5-1 lead. Finland then added another single point in the fifth with a steal when Estonia skip Maile Moelder was long with her draw attempt. Finland went on to book their semi-final place by winning 7-4 – the first time a Finnish women's team has reached the last four since 1997.

Scotland played Norway, and the teams were tied at 4-4 after seven ends, but the Scottish break-through came in the eighth end when, with Scottish stone placed well, skip Eve Muirhead had a hit and stay to score four from the end and take an 8-4 lead. Norway's skip Kristin Skaslien was short with her final draw in the ninth to give Scotland a single steal, and the Norwegians immediately conceded.

This result meant that Norway finished eighth overall and will now face a best-of-three showdown with the eventual B-Division winners to determine the last available European slot at this season's Ford World Women's Championship, being held in Swift Current, Canada in (19-27) March 2016.

Germany played Hungary and in the fifth end of the game, Germany's skip Daniela Driendl drew her last stone into the house to score three points for a 4-2 lead. Germany went on to win this game by 8-5.

Sweden and Switzerland played each other in a tight game and, in the third end, Switzerland's skip Alina Paetz drew onto the button to score two and tie the game at 2-2. The teams were tied at 6-6 after the regulation ten ends and a score of two by Sweden in the extra end finally gave them an 8-6 win.

They Said It:

Anna Sidorova; skip, Russia (after 8-5 win against Denmark):

"Now we are definitely in the top four. We tried to show our normal game just then. The first thing, and probably the most important thing, is to win. Now we're two wins away from the title, which we're here for. That's the main goal."

Eve Muirhead; skip, Scotland (after 9-4 win over Norway):

"We played a good game there and it was a game of patience. We knew if we hung in there and that's the first job done. The big four in the eighth made the difference. I think we'll be playing Finland, and they're playing well. I think we got them at the right time at the start of the week, because they've come on to a really good game – It's going to be tough."

Oona Kauste; skip, Finland (after 7-4 win over Estonia):

“This feels absolutely fabulous! The team changed after the World championships in Sapporo [Japan] and we practised together with this team about six months ago for the first time. We would have been super-happy just for top seven to get to the next World Championships - and did not believe to get to the medal games even in our wildest dreams.”

B-Division Highlights:

Latvia won their final match in the women's B-Division round-robin by 8-4 over Slovakia, tying for first-place with the Czech Republic, who didn't play in this session. Turkey, meanwhile, fell to Italy, who stole single points in the tenth and 11th ends on their way to a 6-5 victory. England beat Poland 9-3 and France lost 8-5 to the Netherlands.

WCTV Highlights: next live broadcast, on http://www.youtube.com/worldcurlingtv, tomorrow at 09.00 (CET), Germany v Scotland (Men's Session 9)

WOMEN'S RESULTS, Session 9:

Germany 8-5 Hungary; Estonia 4-7 Finland; Scotland 9-4 Norway; Denmark 5-8 Russia; Sweden 8-6 Switzerland.

WOMEN'S STANDINGS after Session 9 (W - L):

1 Russia 8-1 - semi-finalists
2 Scotland 7-2 - semifinalists
3 Finland 6-3 - semi-finalists
4 Denmark 6-3 - semi-finalists
5 Sweden 5-4
6 Switzerland 4-5
7 Germany 4-5
8 Norway 3-6 - plays winner of B-Division in World Challenge Game
9 Estonia 1-8 - relegated to B-Division 2016
10 Hungary 1-8 - relegated to B-Division 2016