Men’s play-off field complete at the OQE

Team Denmark © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Denmark beat Germany by 8-2 in Thursday morning’s eighth – and second-last – session of men’s round-robin play at the Olympic Qualification Event. This bounce-back win meant that Denmark joined already-qualified Italy in the play-off games.

In addition, because of results elsewhere, Czech Republic, who sat out this session, completed the three-team line-up for the play-offs.

While Italy are now confirmed in second place, third place will only be decided after Denmark and the Czechs play each other in the final round-robin session. This means that Italy will play the winner of that game in the first play-off game, with a win in that game meaning qualification for Beijing.

The loser will then go onto face the fourth-placed team for the final berth in the Beijing line-up.

On the ice, Germany scored one point in the first end against Denmark, but the Danes responded straightaway when skip Mikkel Krause played a draw in the second end to score three points and take a 3-1 lead. In the third end, the Danes stole two points to take a 5-1 lead.

In the fifth end, Krause hit out German stones to score two more points and take a 7-2 lead into the break. A further steal of one by Denmark in the sixth end for 8-2 convinced Germany to concede.

After the game, Denmark’s Krause said, “It was big for us to win this morning because we had a tough day yesterday, so getting back on track is very important. I don’t mind this situation – I like the pressure. I always feel that I personally play a bit better under pressure.”

Norway had already clinched top spot and the direct route to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 when they played Netherlands in this session. In what was Norway’s last appearance in the competition (because they have the bye in the final round-robin session), they won by 8-5.

After blanking the first end, Norway scored two points in the second end and stole one point in the third. It meant that after three ends, Norway led the game by 3-0. However, in the fourth end, Dutch skip Wouter Goesgens scored two points with a solid draw to close the gap to a single point.

In the eighth end, with Norway now leading by 7-3, Goesgens’ attempted hit-and-roll went wrong, giving Norway a single-point steal for an 8-3 lead on the way to their 8-5 win.

Reflecting on his steam’s successful campaign, Norway skip Walstad said, “The whole season has been up and down, but I think that we came into this week really sharp.”

Italy played Japan in this session and were 4-2 up when the teams played the fifth end.

Japan’s skip Matsumura Yuta attempted a hit-and-roll into scoring position in the fifth end, but did not manage to find the right spot, giving Italy a steal of one for a 5-2 lead at the break.

The Italians then went on to win by 9-4.

Afterwards, Italy skip Joel Retornaz said, “We had a good performance this morning, solid, and the whole team played well. We felt we had control of the game from the beginning. We’re going to do our best now to get to the Olympic Games.”

Italy versus Japan © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

In the fourth game of this session, Finland played Korea. After a low-scoring first half, Korea led by 2-1.

In the tenth end, with Finland up by 4-3, Korea skip Kim Chang-Min failed to clear out some Finnish stones to give up a steal of one point and hand Finland their second win of the event, by 5-3.

Men Session Eight results: Denmark 8-2 Germany; Norway 8-5 Netherlands; Finland 5-3 Korea; Italy 9-4 Japan

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16 December 2021
Olympic Qualification Event 2021