Italy women and Austria men qualify for World Junior Curling Championships 2014

Italy women and Austria men qualified for the World Junior Curling Championships 2014 after winning the women's and men's competitions at the European Junior Curling Challenge 2014 in Lohja, Finland earlier today.

Italy junior women, winners of the EJCC 2014 Photo: Christian Leibbrandt
Austria junior men, winners of the EJCC 2014 Photo: Christian Leibbrandt

The Italian junior women faced Hungary in the final. Their game started out very even with Italy leading 2-1 at the fourth end break.

The game then turned in Italy's favour in the fifth end when they scored four points.

Hungary fought hard to come back to the game but couldn’t quite make it as Italy won with a final score of 8-3.

The Italian coach Björn Schröder was delighted with his team's performance throughout the week. He said: "We had a tough first game against Turkey, but improved all the time and had a good round-robin.

"The quarter-final against Estonia was really close, but thankfully we made it into the Semi-final and we played great this morning against England.

"This morning’s Semi-final against England gave us a lot of confidence for the final and also all of the experience we gained from Stavanger Europeans and Füssen Olympic Trials obviously helped in the final games.

"In the Worlds (WJCC 2014) we will be facing a lot of tough opposition, but we will go and do our best and of course anything can happen."

The winning Italian women's team consisted of Veronica Zappone (skip); Elisa Charlotte Patono (third); Martina Bronsino (Second); Arianna Losano (lead) and they were supported by Angela Romei (alternate) and Lucilla Macchiati (coach).

Meanwhile, England finished in third position as they defeated Poland 7-6.

On the junior men’s side, the teams offered a thrilling final as both of the teams played better and better as the game progressed.

The score was tied 4-4 after seven ends as the Austrians got to start the eighth end with hammer.

The Netherlands did a good job of putting up centre guards, but the Austrian's were also successful in moving them around before peeling them later on to keep the centre of the house clear for their last shot.

With his last stone, Netherlands skip Wouter Gösgens played a hit and roll, which rolled slightly too much and left Austrian skip Sebastian Wunderer the simple task of just hitting the Dutch stone in the house to win the game 5-4.

The winning Austrian team included Sebastian Wunderer (skip) Mathias Genner (third); Martin Reichel (second); Lukas Kirchmair (lead) and they were supported by Philipp Nothegger (alternate) and Christian Roth (coach).

Afterwards, the Austrian skip, Sebastian Wunderer, and his team, admitted they had come to this year's EJCC with the goal of making it all the way to the finals.

He said: "We have been training really hard this season and we have been on the ice several times a week. We struggled a bit at the start of the week here, but we kept improving and started to play our best just in time for the play-offs."

He continued: "It really helped to have so much support from back home and also to have the Germans be such great fans all week long and cheer for us. We have also had Uli Kapp and Andreas Winkler helping us out in Kitzbühl every week during training, which has been a big help."

Czech Republic defeated Denmark 6-3 to finish in third position.

RESULTS
Women
Semi-finals:
England 2, Italy 9; Poland 8, Hungary 9.
Bronze medal game: England 7, Poland 6.
Gold medal game: Italy 8, Hungary 3.

Men
Semi-finals:
Denmark 1, Austria 7; Netherlands 5, Czech Republic 4.
Bronze medal game: Czech Republic 6, Denmark 3.
Gold medal game: Austria 5, The Netherlands 4.

FINAL STANDINGS

Women
1. Italy (Qualified for the WJCC 2014)
2. Hungary
3. England
4. Poland
5. Norway
6. Germany
7. Turkey
8. Estonia
9. Spain
10. Latvia
11. Slovenia
12. Finland

Men
1. Austria (Qualified for the WJCC 2014)
2. Netherlands
3. Czech Republic
4. Denmark
5. Germany
6. England
7. Turkey
8. Latvia
9. Finland
10. Hungary
11. Spain
12. Estonia
13. Poland
14. Slovenia

WCF Member Associations that have already qualified teams for the World Junior Curling Championships 2014 are:

Junior Women: Russia (Gold 2013), Scotland (Silver 2013), Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, USA, Switzerland, Canada and Italy.

Junior Men: Scotland (Gold 2013), Russia (Silver 2013), Canada (Bronze 2013), Sweden, Norway, Italy, USA, Switzerland and Austria.

Further information about the World Juniors 2014 can be seen here on the event website: http://wjcc2014.curlingevents.com

Learn more about upcoming Curling events:

WFG Continental Cup 2014, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, USA - 16-19 January 2014 www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en

Curling Competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games - 10-21 February 2014 www.sochi2014.curlingevents.com/olympics

Report by Katja Kiiskinen