Italy beat United States by 13-4 in Sunday morning’s bronze medal game at the LGT World Men’s Curling Championship.
This was Italian curling’s best-ever world performance, and this medal sits alongside the European bronze won by this team – skip Joel Retornaz, third player Amos Mosaner, second Sebastiano Arman, lead Simone Gonin, and alternate Mattia Giovanella, supported by coach Claudio Pescia.
The Italians set the tone in the first end when skip Retornaz brought his last stone through a port to score four points.
The Americans responded with a score of two in the second end when their skip Korey Dropkin played a draw. In the third end, Retornaz missed a double take-out attempt and handed United States a single steal to reduce his lead to 4-3.
In the fourth, nine stones were clustered around the four-foot ring when Retornaz came to play his last stone. He threw this last stone away for fear of doing damage, and after this, an umpire’s measure confirmed a further score of two for Italy and a 6-3 lead.
In the fifth end Dropkin came up light with his final draw to give Italy a steal of one and a 7-3 lead.
Dropkin made up for this mistake with a nose-hit tap-back for one point in the sixth end to reduce the Italian lead to 7-4.
In the seventh end, Italy’s Retornaz squeezed through three front guards to tap out an American stone and score six points for a 13-4 lead. After this, with the game effectively over, both teams entertained the crowd with throw-throughs and novelty deliveries in the obligatory eighth end, to finish off Italy’s historic win.
After the game Retornaz said, “It feels sweet at this moment. I’m full of emotions because it’s a medal at the world championship, and we’ve achieved something very important for us and our country, and for everybody following us.”
Speaking about opening the scoring with four points, he added, “I always say that scoring four at the start can make it easier, but it can also be a weapon against you, as you have to defend that score with the other team playing very offensively. So, we were able to manage the lead we had and, of course, the six in the seventh end, it was game over after that.”
Reflecting on the significance of this historic win, he said, “It is a dream season for Italian curling. Being in the best three teams in the Europeans, being in the best three teams at the worlds, and having an Olympic gold medallist on the team is very important. It is the right moment to have this achievement because we host the Olympics in Italy in four years. It’s also the right moment if anybody want to invest in or promote curling even more in our country. I think it’s all a very good advertisement.”
The LGT World Men’s Curling Championship will now conclude with Sunday afternoon’s gold medal game between defending champions Sweden and Canada.
Bronze results: United States 4-13 Italy
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