The Official World Curling Federation
Olympic Qualification Event Website
10th - 15th December 2013

OQE 2013: Day 4 Early Round-up

Norway's Anneline Skårsmoen and her team picked up an important win against Italy Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

As the men's sixth session of Round-robin play got underway in the World Curling Federation's Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany, all eight teams were still in the hunt for the three Play-off slots. By the time it finished, the Olympic dream was over for three of them - Finland, France and Japan.

The Play-offs at this event will determine the final two available places in both the men’s and the women’s curling competitions at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games taking place next February.

With four men’s teams reaching four wins during this session, teams with two or less wins were mathematically eliminated from Play-off contention with only one more game to play.

Men’s table-toppers Korea faced USA in this session and it was the USA who made the first real break-through, scoring three points in the fourth end for a 4-3 lead.

After that, the teams swapped single points and then they both scored two points in successive ends to allow USA to keep a one-point lead after eight ends, at 7-6.

The game-changing end was the ninth when Korea's skip Soo-Hyuk Kim's nose-hit only removed one of three USA counting stones, to give USA a steal of two points and a much more comfortable 9-6 lead. The Koreans conceded before the tenth end was completed.

This result means that both Korea and the USA are among the four teams tied at the top of the table on four wins and two losses.

After the game USA lead John Landsteiner said: "We had higher percentages and better shots. We’re looking better as a team overall. I think the ice conditions have got a little better too and easier to work with."

Acknowledging the pressure is still on, Landsteiner added: "Today is a big day. We need two wins. We have to stick to the same game plan, don’t change anything and stay focused. We control our own destiny so we’ll go out there and try to win our game tonight."

The Czech Republic joined these two at the top of the table when they beat Japan by 6-5.

The Czechs opened strongly, scoring one point in the first end and stealing one more point in the second end.

Japan levelled the game in the fifth end, at 2-2, but the Czechs had a stronger second half, scoring two points in the sixth end and again in the eighth end to take a 6-3 lead.

Japan came back with single scores in the ninth and tenth ends but it was too little, too late and the Czechs had their fourth win of the week, at 6-5.

This result made it impossible for Japan to qualify for the Play-offs as they have only one win.

When he came off the ice, Czech skip Jiri Snitil said: "I think that game was good. We knew that we had to be patient, we were waiting for our deuces and they were coming. Right now our team performance is getting better. I'm hoping we can polish a few more things and that we'll be OK and be where we want to be.

“It's better to have everything in our own hands than to have to wait for someone else winning. We like the pressure, so let's see how we deal with it."

Germany became the fourth team to have four wins when they beat Finland by 8-4. After blanking the first end, they took two points from the second end and never lost the lead in the game after that.

This result also eliminated Finland from Play-off contention as with only one game left to play and only two wins to their name, they cannot reach the four wins needed to match the four other teams at the top of the standings.

In the fourth game of the session, France played New Zealand knowing that the losers would slip out of Play-off contention.

In a cagey game, New Zealand scored three points in the fifth end to take a 5-3 lead. The sixth end was blanked and France got one point in the seventh end to move within a point of New Zealand.

In the eighth end it was New Zealand's turn to blank before scoring three points in the ninth end for an 8-4 lead, which turned into the final score as France conceded the game and with it their Olympic hopes in the tenth end.

This result gives New Zealand three wins and makes them the only other team that can get in amongst the four joint leaders.

After the game New Zealand skip Peter de Boer said, "We need somebody to do us a favour now. We can take of one of the teams that's above us by beating the Czechs, but we need others to lose to create a bit of a mess. We'll just go out and do our best and hopefully things will go for us. If they don't, they don't."

Earlier in the day, the women played their fifth session of Round-robin play.

Japan faced Germany and they moved clear in the fifth end of the game when German skip Andrea Schoepp tried and failed to remove a Japanese stone on the button and gave up a steal of three points to give Japan a 6-2 lead.

In the eighth end, Schoepp played a much better last stone with a raise double take-out to count one point and move the score to 8-4 for Japan.

In the ninth end, Japan's skip Ayumi Ogasawara hit out a German stone to score two points from the end, after which Germany conceded, with a final score of 10-4.

After this game, Japan skip Ayumi Ogasawara said: “That was our fourth game but the best game so far for us," adding: "We expected to win all four of these games. As we said yesterday, the quality of the game itself was good, but winning is more important. We have two more games and think we can win them both and go to the play-offs.”

Like Japan, China had a 100% record when they come onto the ice to play Latvia. In the fourth end, China's skip Bingyu Wang faced two Latvian stones in the house when she played her final draw-shot. She was successful with this, scoring one point and levelling the overall score at 2-2.

In the sixth end China finally took the lead for the first time in the game when Wang hit out a Latvian stone to score two points, for 4-3.

China finally got a grip on the game in the eighth end when another hit by Wang produced three points and a clear 7-4 lead.

After this, the final score was 8-5 meaning China remain in joint top position with Japan on four wins and no losses.

When she came off the ice, Wang said: “I’m so happy that we’ve had a good start. We have two more games and we hope we can win them both. It is however important that we play better in the play-offs. Just now I think we need to feel more comfortable on the ice during the games".

As usual, Wang was gracious about her opponents, saying: “I think Latvia played very well today – they didn’t have many mistakes. It was a tough game and always close. The last end was so tough for us - we nearly lost control of that game so we need to be careful. We hopefully have four games to go (two Round-robin and potentially two Play-off games) and we are feeling confident right now.”

Italy faced Norway, still looking for their first win of the week. In the sixth end of this game, Norwegian skip Marianne Roervik hit out an Italian stone to score three points and take a 6-2 lead.

The ninth end was the best end of the game for Italy and their skip Veronica Zappone hit to score three points and reduce the Norwegian lead to just 7-6.

Norway resisted this period of pressure however, scoring one more point in the tenth end to win by 8-6. Italy remain winless having played four games.

The women still have two more Round-robin games to play, while the men only have one more game.

RESULTS & STANDINGS

Women’s Session 5: Germany 4, Japan 10; Norway 8, Italy 6; Latvia 5, China 8 (Czech Republic - bye)

Women’s Standings after 5 sessions:
1. China 4-0
1. Japan 4-0
3. Czech Republic 2-2
3. Germany 2-2
5. Norway 2-3
6. Latvia 1-4
7. Italy 0-4

Men’s Session 6: Japan 5, Czech Republic 6; France 4, New Zealand 8; Germany 8, Finland 4; Korea 6, USA 9.

Men’s Standings after 6 sessions:
1. Czech Republic 4-2
1. Germany 4-2
1. Korea 4-2
1. USA 4-2
5. New Zealand 3-3
6. Finland 2-4
6. France 2-4
8. Japan 1-5.

Extensive televised coverage of the Olympic Qualification 2013 from Fuessen can be seen by viewers in Japan on NHK’s channel and digital media platforms. All Chinese games will be televised by China’s CCTV sport. Live coverage will also be available via the internet on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV

Event website: www.sochi2014.worldcurling.net/oqe for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and results and more information about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Event Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldcurlingfederation
Twitter Hashtags: #oqe2013 #curling

NOTE: The eight men's and women's nations already qualified for Sochi 2014 are (in ranking order): www.sochi2014.worldcurling.net/olympics/olympic-qualification

Men: Canada, Sweden, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Norway, Denmark, China, Switzerland, and Russia (as host).

Women: Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Canada, USA, Denmark, Korea and Russia (as host).

Member Associations qualifying teams for the World Curling Federation Men’s and Women’s World Curling Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be eligible to take part in the WCF Olympic Qualification Event in 2017.

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