Scotland and Sweden secure top two spots and places in the semi-finals

  • Sweden win to secure a semi-final place Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

Joint leaders Scotland and Sweden both had wins in Friday morning’s 18th round-robin session at the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship in Las Vegas, United States. Scotland beat Switzerland by 8-6 while Sweden had a 6-5 win over Canada.

The other winners in this session were Italy, by 11-4 over Germany, and United States, who kept their play-off hopes alive with a 7-4 win over China. Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, and Russia sat out this session.

In the game against Switzerland, Scotland scored two points in the ninth end to take a 7-6 lead and eventually an umpire’s measure in the tenth end gave the Scots a steal of one point and their tenth win, by 8-6.

Niklas Edin, skip of Olympic silver medallists Sweden, played a raise double take-out to open the scoring with three points in the first end of the game against Canada. Their 6-5 win in this game keeps Sweden in joint top spot, with Canada now two wins behind in third place.

Italy had a strong finish in their game against Germany, scoring three points in the sixth and seventh ends, and then two points in the eighth end, forcing Germany to concede at 4-11 down.

United States faced China in this session, knowing that a win would keep their play-off hopes alive. In the fourth end of the game the Americans’ fourth player Greg Persinger drew his final stone into position to score three points and build the American lead to 5-1 on the way to their 7-4 win.

These results leave two play-off slots still available, behind already qualified Scotland, Sweden, Canada and Norway, with Switzerland, Korea, Russia and United States still in the chasing pack.

Scotland and Sweden now go direct to the semi-finals on Saturday while the other four eventual qualifiers go into play-off games, with the winners joining the semi-final line-up.

Germany will now finish in 13th position at the foot of the table and, under new World qualification rules introduced this year, this means that the Europe Zone will lose one of its automatic qualification slots in next year’s Championship.

They said it

Niklas Edin; skip, Sweden (after 6-5 win over Canada): “We played really well in the beginning and the three in the first end obviously helps. Then we kind of controlled the game until we didn't really pick up that it sped up after the sixth end. It was a little bit faster there and we were behind the T Line a couple of times, that hurt us. Just figuring out the ice was key out there. If you know the spot and you know the speed it's pretty easy to find the weight and line.”

Joel Retornaz; skip, Italy (after 11-4 win over Germany): “There’s not much we can ask for in this competition anymore… just try to have some good performances and try to show ourselves first of all that we are a good team and that we deserve to be here at the Worlds. The event has been great. For us it’s a bit disappointing, we wanted to do better than we’re doing. We know there’s a gap between us and the top teams and we need to fill this gap, hopefully starting from next season.”

Rich Ruohonen; skip, Unites States (after 7-4 win over China): “We played pretty well, except in the first, we got in a little trouble in the first but got a fortunate break after that we controlled the whole game. We have one left, we’re not mathematically eliminated yet, so if we win that, we’ve got a chance.”

Session 18 results: Scotland 8-6 Switzerland; Canada 5-6 Sweden; Italy 11-4 Germany; United States 7-4 China.

Standings after session 18

Q Scotland 10-1
Q Sweden 10-1
Q Canada 8-3
Q Norway 7-4
Switzerland 6-5
Korea 5-5
Russia 5-5
United States 5-6
Italy 4-7
Netherlands 3-7
China 3-8
Japan 3-8
Germany 1-10

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