Scotland and Norway men complete semi-final line-up in St Gallen

  • Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud directs his team Photo: © WCF / Céline Stucki

Both Scotland and Norway had wins in Thursday (23 November) morning’s final session of men’s round-robin play at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2017 in St Gallen, Switzerland to take the last two semi-final places, alongside already-qualified Sweden and Switzerland.

Defending champions Sweden topped the rankings and face fourth placed Norway in the semi-finals on Thursday (23 November) night, at 19:00 (Central European Time). The other semi-final is between hosts Switzerland and Scotland – live on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (geo-blocking applies)

In the second end of his game against Netherlands, Scotland’s skip Kyle Smith opened the scoring with a draw into the house for one point. Eventually, after a succession of blank ends, Smith hit out a Dutch stone in the tenth end to score two points and take the 5-2 win that qualified his team for the semi-finals.

The game between Norway and Germany was a winner-takes-all fight for the last semi-final place and in the fourth end Norway’s skip Thomas Ulsrud hit out a German stone to score two points and take a 4-2 lead. Norway went on to win by 6-4 to complete the semi-final line-up. This win also ensured Thomas Ulsrud and his team will represent Norway at the Olympic Winter Games.

Switzerland – unbeaten so far - faced the defending champions Sweden in this session with both teams already qualified for the semi-final. In the fifth end, Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz came up short with his final draw to give Sweden a steal of five points and an 8-1 lead. In the sixth end, Switzerland scored one point and then conceded at 8-2 to Sweden, ending their unbeaten record.

All four semi-final teams are represented in St Gallen, by the athletes who will travel to Gangneung for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

In the other games of this session, Russia beat Austria by 10-4 to finish sixth overall while Slovakia beat Italy by 9-5 for their first and only win of the week. This result leaves Italy in eighth place and they will now face a best-of-three challenge against the eventual B-Division winners for the last available European place in this season’s world curling championship line-up.

The next live game, on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (note geo-blocking applies), at these championships will be Switzerland v Czech Republic women at 14:00, Central European Time (+1 hours, Greenwich Mean Time) on Thursday (23 November) afternoon.

They said it

Kyle Smith; skip, Scotland (after 5-2 win over Netherlands): “That’s the first part of the plan come together, so now the real competition starts. The teams that are still here are the ones we expected, so it doesn’t matter who we play, it’s just about how we ourselves perform.”

Juraj Gallo; skip, Slovakia (after 9-5 win over Italy): “It was good to have a win in the A-Division, but I think we need more experience. For teams like us it’s really tough to challenge the teams that are professionals. We are really grateful to everyone who organised this tournament, it’s been wonderful.”

Thomas Ulsrud; skip, Norway (after 6-4 win over Germany): “There was pressure on us to get to the Olympics, so I guess we’ve now qualified two ways – for the Olympics and for the semi-finals. We played a good team in Germany and we had a good game, a solid game. We were lucky enough to get the hammer and score two in the first end, so we pretty much had control from then.”

Men’s session nine results: Scotland 5-2 Netherlands; Italy 5-9 Slovakia; Sweden 8-2 Switzerland; Austria 4-10 Russia; Germany 4-6 Norway

Standings after men’s session nine (W-L):

Q Sweden 8-1
Q Switzerland 8-1
Q Scotland 6-3
Q Norway 6-3
Germany 5-4
Russia 4-5
Netherlands 4-5
WCC Italy 2-7
>B Austria 1-8
>B Slovakia 1-8

WCC – Qualify for World Challenge Games
>B – relegated to 2018 B-Division

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of these championships via the World Curling Federation’s broadcast partners on Eurosport 1 and 2, Eurosport Player, Eurosport Asia Pacific, RTS, SRF and RSI (Switzerland), SVT (Sweden), TVP Sport (Poland), La Chaine Equipe (France), TSN (Canada), NBCSports (United States) and the Olympic Channel. Coverage will also be available on the event website, the World Curling Federation’s Facebook and YouTube Channel, (note geo-blocking will apply in certain territories).

To keep up-to-date with all the action from these championships, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #ECC2017 #curling

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