The Official World Curling Federation
Sochi 2014 Olympic Games Website
07th - 23rd February 2014

Men: Great Britain and Canada win semi-finals

Great Britain will play Canada for the gold medals Photo: WCF/Michael Burns

Great Britain beat world champions Sweden by 6-5 while Canada defeated China by 10-6 and will now face each other in the gold medal game following their wins in Wednesday evening's men's semi-final play at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games curling competition at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi.

As a result of their defeats, Sweden and China will play for bronze medals at 12:30 (MSK) on Friday afternoon, while the gold medal game between Canada and Great Britain will begin at 17:30 (MSK) on Friday evening.

As round-robin leaders, Sweden had last stone advantage in the first end, but it was Great Britain who scored first in the game between the two.

Sweden had blanked the first end but their skip Niklas Edin rolled too far with his last stone take-out attempt to give Great Britain a steal of one point in the second end for a 1-0 lead.

The Swedes took the lead in the third end, scoring two points when Edin drew with his last stone to move the score-line to 2-1 in their favour.

Great Britain blanked the fourth end and then scored one point instead of two in the fifth end when the double take-out that their skip David Murdoch attempted just failed. This meant the teams were level at 2-2 at the fifth end break.

Great Britain had another single-point steal in the sixth end when Sweden skip Niklas Edin hit with his last stone but once again rolled too far.

Sweden scored one point in the seventh end to level the game at 3-3, but Great Britain moved ahead again in the eighth end when, after a discussion about whether to blank the end or not, they played a hit and stay to score one point to lead 4-3.

Sweden took the lead for the first time since the third end when, in the ninth end, they scored two points by taking out a British stone that lay open, to make the score 5-4.

In the tenth end, Sweden's Edin played a long promote take-out that just missed its target - a British stone sitting on the button, and this left Murdoch with a draw to within the four foot ring to score two points, win the game 6-5 and put a British men's team into the final for the first time since Great Britain won Olympic gold at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924.

After the game, Great Britain skip David Murdoch said: "It’s just incredible. I’ve been trying for 12 years to get an Olympic medal and now we’re going to get one, words just can’t explain. It was an incredible team display and we’re just so happy to make the gold medal game.”

Britain's third player Greg Drummond also spoke, saying: "We just kept applying pressure on them. We talked about it before the game. If we could make him play pressure shots, then we'd get mistakes. We knew we'd have to be strong ourselves on our simple shots, though."

Looking forward, he said: "We're confident about playing Canada. We only missed a win against them by a millimetre so we're not scared of them. So hopefully we can take that performance from today into Friday. For any athlete playing in the Olympics getting the gold medal is the ultimate dream, so to get that on Friday would be amazing, words wouldn't describe it."

When he came off the ice, Sweden skip Niklas Edin offered no excuses. He said: "Obviously we're not feeling good. It wasn't the start of the game we wanted and we didn't play well enough to catch up. We didn't come up to our normal standard and didn't figure out the ice till the last half of the game and that was too costly. We should have made more shots, that's the key - we started missing from end two.”

By contrast to the long British wait for a men's Olympic finalist team, Canada's 10-6 win over China means that Canadian men's teams have reached every Olympic final since curling was re-instated to the Olympic Winter Games programme in 1998.

In this semi-final, the teams swapped single points in the first two ends, before Canada made the break-through in the third end, scoring two points when an umpire's measure gave them the second point.

China responded with a single point in the fourth end, but another single point by Canada in the fifth end moved the score on to 4-2 in Canada's favour at the fifth end break.

China brought themselves back into the game with two points in the sixth end that levelled the score at 4-4.

In the seventh end, Canadian skip Brad Jacobs passed a guard by the smallest of margins to make a double take-out and score three points, for a 7-4 lead.

China battled back yet again in the eighth end, when their skip Rui Liu played a nose-hit for two points to reduce Canada's lead to 7-6.

In the ninth end, Jacobs played a tap-back with his last stone to score another three points and move his lead on to 10-6. Canada then ran China out of stones in the tenth end, for their 10-6 win.

After the game, Canada's Jacobs said: "It's unbelievable, this was the goal - we wanted to get into the play-offs and then come out and put together a good game in the semi-final, and now we get to play in the final - it's awesome."

Meanwhile, explaining how Canada managed to achieve this win, his third player Ryan Fry said: "Our team is very apt at coming out when the big games are on. To be able to do something like that in the semi-final speaks volumes for our team. There were quite a few nervous moments out there - it should be like that at in an Olympic semi-final."

Meanwhile, China's Rui Liu was pragmatic, saying (through an interpreter): “I feel ok. Although we lost the game we have reached our best (performance levels). Team Canada are so strong and we made some small but crucial mistakes and they led to us losing the game. From the beginning to the end we kept making mistakes, that was the key problem. But we will not think any more about this game. We just want to park the past and be prepared for the next game.”

When they come out to play the bronze medal game against Sweden, China, who only joined the World Curling Federation in 2002, will be bidding for their first men's curling Olympic medal.

Sweden meanwhile maintained the fact that no reigning men's world champion has become Olympic champion at the same time.

RESULTS
Men’s Semi-finals:
Sweden 5, Great Britain 6; Canada 10, China 6.

STANDINGS
Men’s standings after Semi-finals:

Canada (To play Great Britain in gold medal game)
Great Britain (To play Canada in gold medal game)
Sweden (To play China in bronze medal game)
China (To play Sweden in bronze medal game)
5. Norway 5-4
6. Denmark 4-5
7. Russia 3-6
8. Switzerland 3-6
9. USA 2-7
10. Germany 1-8

SCHEDULE
(All times local – MSK)

WOMEN
Medal Games (Thursday February 20, 2014)
Bronze:
Great Britain v Switzerland (12:30)
Gold: Canada v Sweden (17:30)

MEN
Medal Games (Friday February 21, 2014):
Bronze:
Sweden v China (12:30)
Gold: Canada v Great Britain (17:30)

NOTE: Rankings are determined by rule C9 of the World Curling Federation's ‘The Rules of Curling and Rules of Competition’. Details can be obtained at www.worldcurling.org/rules-and-regulations

WCF Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games curling competition website: www.sochi2014.worldcurling.net

Live scores, statistics and play by play: http://sochi2014.worldcurling.net/olympics/curling-live-scores

See the WCF's latest photo galleries from the event: http://sochi2014.worldcurling.net/olympics/galleries

Official Sochi 2014 website (including links to live broadcast games): http://www.sochi2014.com/en/curling

WCF Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldcurlingfederation
WCF Twitter: @worldcurling and @WCFmedia. Hashtags: #curling #sochi2014

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