Japan step closer to qualifying for the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s play-offs

  • Japan qualify for the play-offs © WCF / Jeffrey Au

Japan beat Scotland by 8-6 in Wednesday evening’s 14th round-robin session of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019, to share top spot with Sweden, who beat Canada by 9-4 in the same session.

In the other games in this session Italy kept their play-off hopes alive with a 9-4 win over Korea, while Germany beat Netherlands by 7-6.

In the game between Japan and Scotland, Japan had a 6-1 lead at the half-time break, but, in the sixth end, Scotland’s skip Bruce Mouat played a hit and stay on a Japan stone to score three points and reduce Japan’s lead to 6-4.

In the tenth end, Japan’s skip Yuta Matsumura hit out a Scottish stone with the last stone of the game, to score one point and win by 8-6.

Meanwhile, defending champions Sweden were up against hosts Canada - as well as a packed home crowd - and, in the fifth end, Sweden’s skip Niklas Edin played a hit and roll on a Canadian stone to score two points and take a 3-2 lead.

Then, in the seventh end, Edin drew his last stone into position to draw for three points and move on to a 6-4 lead. Canada then conceded after the eighth end, when their skip Kevin Koe wrecked on a front guard with his last stone, with the score-line at 9-4 for Sweden, who now move to the top of the rankings alongside Japan.

Because of their playing record and the teams they still must face, unlike Japan, Sweden are not yet assured of a play-off slot.

After this win, Sweden’s Edin said, “That was a good test for us and a really important game. We have it all in our own hands now and we’re top of the table, so looking pretty good from here. I don’t think that was our best performance but, considering who we played, that was our best win.”

In the ninth end of their game against Korea, Italy’s skip Joel Retornaz played a draw into the house to score four points and win by 9-4, to keep his team’s play-off hopes alive. Afterwards, he said, “The team is performing well, as a strong team. We know every win is important now. We know we’re sitting in a good position and, if we get some more wins, we might achieve something big.”
In the fourth game of the session, Netherlands faced Germany and in the sixth end, the Dutch fourth player Wouter Goesgens hit out a German stone to score one point and take a 3-2 lead.

However, in the tenth end, Germany’s skip Marc Muskatewitz drew his last stone into the house to score three points and take a 7-6 win.

Japan and Sweden now share top spot, with Switzerland third. Canada and United States share fourth place in the rankings.

Italy currently occupy the crucial sixth and last qualifying slot, with Scotland still challenging behind them.

Korea have now moved onto nine games without a win.

Results: Japan 8-6 Scotland; Korea 4-9 Italy; Sweden 9-4 Canada; Netherlands 6-7 Germany.

Current Standings (W-L):

Japan 8-1
Sweden 8-1
Switzerland 7-1
Canada 6-2
United States 6-2
Italy 5-3
Scotland 4-4
Netherlands 3-5
Norway 2-6
Russia 2-6
Germany 2-7
China 1-7
Korea 0-8

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Live coverage of these championships will be available via the World Curling Federation’s broadcast partners: Eurosport (Europe-wide), TSN and RDS (Canada), NBCSports (United States), NHK (Japan), CCTV5 (China), SBS (Korea), SRF/RTS/RSI (Switzerland), Viasat (Denmark, Norway, Finland), Polsat (Poland), SVT (Sweden), Match TV (Russia), La Chaine Equipe (France), BBC Online (United Kingdom). Coverage will also be available, subject to geo-blocking restrictions, on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Channels: www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Correction: a previous version of this story had incorrectly stated Japan had qualified for the play-off stage. However, due to the possibility of a complicated five-way tie they have yet to qualify.

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media during the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (@WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WMCC2019 #curling