Sweden and Japan qualify for the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s play-off stage

  • Sweden qualify for the play-off stage © WCF / Jeffrey Au

Defending champions Sweden beat Korea by 7-5 in Thursday afternoon’s 16th round-robin session of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Championship in Lethbridge, Canada.

This win qualifies them for the weekend play-off stage, as they stand at the top of the rankings, on nine wins and one loss.

In the other games in this session, Switzerland beat Japan by 6-5 after an extra end, while Scotland beat China by 9-6, and Germany were 12-6 winners over Russia.

Despite their loss, Japan join Sweden in qualifying for the weekend play-offs, while Switzerland’s record against other teams means that they have not yet qualified.

In the second end of the game between Sweden and Korea, Sweden’s skip Niklas Edin drew his second stone onto the button to score one point and level the game at 1-1.

The major turning point in the game came in the seventh end when Sweden scored three points for a 7-4 lead and, after this, the Swedes went on to win by 7-5.

After the game, Edin said, “We only have a one-game today, so we tried to maintain the focus. We’ll have a little bit of rest today and come back strong tomorrow hopefully. We’ve had a lot of shorter games.”

Always happy to praise his opponents, he continued, “Before the event I thought Korea would be in the play-offs, so they’re a big surprise to me – the wrong way. I know they can play really well. Maybe if they’d played like that earlier in the week, they’d have some wins by now.”

Japan and Switzerland are right on the heels of Sweden at the top of the table, and, when they faced each other in this session, Switzerland made the first break-through when they had a steal of one point in the fifth end for a 3-1 halfway lead.

In the eighth end, Japan’s skip Yuta Matsumura drew his second stone into the four-foot ring to score two points and level the game at 4-4.

This game eventually went to an extra end and, in that end, Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz had an open hit to score the one point that gave his team a 6-5 victory.

After this win, Switzerland’s skip Peter de Cruz said, “I think our advantage was maybe a little bit of luck, and maybe a little bit of experience at this level. We’ve been in these situations a few times and we know how to manage them. But they played unbelievable.”

Looking forward he added, “I think it’s still possible for us to get to the top two, we’ve got a couple of tough games tomorrow, a couple of big opponents, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Russia faced Germany in this session, and, in the second end, Russia’s skip Sergey Glukhov played a nose-hit on a German stone on the four-foot ring to score two points and reduce Germany’s lead to 3-2. Then, in the ninth end, Germany’s skip Marc Muskatewitz played a raise take-out to score three points for a 12-6 score-line. Russia conceded with handshakes after this.

In the fourth game of this session, Scotland faced China and in the first end, Scottish skip Bruce Mouat drew his second stone inside the four-foot ring to open the scoring in the game with two points.

Then, in the second end, China’s skip Qiang Zou also played a draw-shot and he also scored two points to level the game at 2-2.

The game remained tight all the way after this with never more than one point between the teams. China played a hit in the ninth end to score two points and take the lead for the first time at 6-5, but in the tenth end, China’s Zou wrecked his last stone to hand Scotland four points and a 9-6 win.

Afterwards, Scotland Mouat said, “That was quite a frustrating game actually. We created some really good ends and we had shots for twos and threes, but we always seemed to just get a one.”

With Sweden and Japan now qualified, six more teams remain in the play-off hunt: (in current standings order) Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Scotland, and Netherlands.

Results: Korea 5-7 Sweden; Switzerland 6-5 Japan; Germany 12-6 Russia; Scotland 9-6 China.

Current Standings (W-L):

Q Sweden 9-1
Q Japan 8-2
Switzerland 8-2
Canada 7-2
Italy 6-3
United States 6-3
Scotland 5-4
Netherlands 3-6
Germany 3-7
Russia 3-7
Norway 2-7
China 2-8
Korea 0-10

Q = qualified for the play-offs

Watch, follow, engage

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

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