Italy qualify for Le Gruyère AOP European semi-finals

  • Italy qualify for the semi-finals © WCF / Richard Gray

Italy secured their semi-final spot with a 6-4 win over Poland in Wednesday afternoon’s eighth men’s round-robin session at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

Italy opened the scoring with three points in the second end. Going into the ninth end, Italy led by 5-4 and skip Joel Retornaz played a tap-back onto the button to score another point to secure their win early with Poland conceding.

“It was a tough game,” Retornaz said after the match. “They played solid and we made a couple of mistakes. That probably wasn’t our best performance, but it feels good to be one of the top four European teams.”

Netherlands [pictured below © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik] recorded their first win of the competition when they beat Finland 12-2. The Dutch opened the scoring in the first end when their fourth player, Wouter Goesgens, drew his last stone into position to score two points. Netherlands then gained the upper hand from the fifth end onwards to bring home a 12-2 victory.

“We had a good game and finally got the result,” Dutch skip Jaap van Dorp said after the match. “I think we could have got it earlier in the week, we already played well in a lot of other games and just had small things that cost us.” While Netherlands can no longer qualify for the semi-finals here, they remain in the hunt for a place in the line-up at the World Qualification Event in January.

Sweden faced Scotland in a top-of-the-table clash. With both teams already qualified, this game was about who would finish top and have the theoretically easier semi-final.

In the sixth end, Scotland’s skip Bruce Mouat played a nose-hit and stay on the only Swedish stone in the house to score four points. In the tenth end, Swedish skip Niklas Edin hit out a Scottish stone to score three points, win the game 9-8, and preserve his team’s undefeated record.

Germany played Switzerland with both teams needing a victory to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

The Swiss were leading, at 5-4, when, with the last stone of the game in the tenth end, Germany’s skip Marc Muskatewitz hit out a Swiss stone to score three points for a 7-5 win that keeps them on track for the semi-finals.

Muskatewitz said after the match, “We kept the game very tight because that was the only way we saw a chance to win.”

Norway also needed a win over Russia to stay in contention for a spot in the semi-finals. In the sixth end, Norwegian skip Steffen Walstad drew his final stone into position to score two points for a 4-3 lead. Norway went on to win by 7-5 to keep their semi-final campaign going.
“They played well and kept the game close, but I’m happy we came out with the win in the end” Walstad said after the match.

Session eight results: Switzerland 5-7 Germany; Netherlands 12-2 Finland; Italy 6-4 Poland; Sweden 9-8 Scotland; Russia 5-7 Norway

Standings after session eight:

Q Sweden 8-0
Q Italy 6-2
Q Scotland 6-2
Germany 5-3
Norway 5-3
Switzerland 4-4
Finland 2-6
Russia 2-6
Netherlands 1-7
Poland 1-7

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media during the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2018 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@WorldCurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #ECC2018 #curling