Winning start for defending champions, Sweden

  • Sweden's vice-skip Oskar Eriksson Photo: © WCF / Céline Stucki

Defending champions Sweden opened their title defence with a 10-6 win over Austria in the opening session of men’s round-robin play at the le Gruyere AOP European Curling Championships 2016, in St Gallen’s Eissportzentrum Lercherfield, in Switzerland.

This was a tight game most of the way and it was the Austrians who went into the half-time break with a lead, at 5-4. Sweden finally took the lead in the eighth end when their skip Niklas Edin played a raise tap-back to score two points and move ahead, by 7-6. The Swedes went on to seal their win with a steal of three points in the ninth end.

Hosts Switzerland produced an 8-3 win over Netherlands. They opened well when fourth player Benoit Schwarz drew his last stone of the first end into the house to score two points. A single score by Switzerland in the eighth end was enough to make the Dutch team concede and give Switzerland the 8-3 win.

Both Sweden and Switzerland are represented in St Gallen, by the teams who will go to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, in February.

Norway opened their campaign with an 11-3 win over Russia. Norway’s team here must finish in the top four at this event to guarantee their place in Team Norway for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Scotland faced Italy and opened the scoring in the second end when skip Kyle Smith drew his final stone into the house to score two points. After swapping single points for three ends the Scots finally emerged as 7-3 winners.

In a low-scoring game, Germany faced Slovakia in a game that featured five blank ends. With the last stone, Germany’s skip Alexander Baumann drew his last stone onto the house to score the one point needed to give his team an opening 4-2 victory.

The next live game, on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (note geo-blocking applies), at these championships will be Switzerland v Germany women at 09:00, Central European Time (+1 hours, Greenwich Mean Time) on Sunday (19 November) morning.

They said it

Thomas Ulsrud; skip, Norway (after 11-3 win over Russia): “This year is a little bit special for us – we need to finish in the top four to earn our Olympic spot for Norway. It’s definitely good to get a good start. Always in the first game you want to learn about the ice – the speed and how it curls – and I think we figured that out before them [Russia].”

Niklas Edin; skip, Sweden (after 10-6 win over Austria): “The first game is always tricky, but a win is a win. We played a really solid first game except for the three that we lost. We got a little bit careless there. Everybody wants to beat us, but we’re prepared for that, so we need to focus on our own game.”

Peter de Cruz; skip, Switzerland (after 8-3 win over Netherlands): “That was good, we were a little nervous for the first game, but we always are. Representing Switzerland in Switzerland is different, and it’s nice to see our family and friends supporting us here. We’re quite experienced now, so it’s not a big difference. The next game is a big one against Norway so hopefully we can bring our ‘A’ game.”

Men’s session one results: Norway 11-3 Russia; Sweden 10-6 Austria; Germany 4-2 Slovakia; Scotland 7-3 Italy; Switzerland 8-3 Netherlands

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

Germany 1-0
Norway 1-0
Scotland 1-0
Switzerland 1-0
Sweden 1-0
Austria 0-1
Italy 0-1
Netherlands 0-1
Russia 0-1
Slovakia 0-1

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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