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

OQE 2013: Day 4 Late Round-up

USA skip John Shuster and his team will play Korea to determine who finishes third Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Germany and Czech Republic men are through to the 1v2 Play-off at the World Curling Federation's Olympic Qualification event in Fuessen, Germany following the final men’s Round-robin session of play.

It took all the way to the last stone of an extra end of the last game in this session to determine who would play in the 1v2 Play-off, while third position will be confirmed tomorrow in the only men’s tie-breaker between USA and Korea.

The winner of the 1v2 game will qualify directly for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games curling competition while the loser will play the winner of the tie-breaker for the last remaining Olympic spot.

The dramatic climax came in the game between Japan and Germany. The Japanese men were already out of contention but that did not stop them fighting all the way, forcing an extra end with a single steal in the tenth end to level the game at 7-7.

When Germany's fourth player Felix Schiulze came to play his last stone, he had to out-draw a Japanese stone partly frozen on the eight-foot ring. To his relief he managed it, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The result of this was that Germany, the Czech Republic, Korea and the USA all shared the same won five, lost two record.

Using their win-loss record among these four, Germany ranked first and the Czech Republic, who beat New Zealand by 7-6, ranked second, meaning that these two will play the 1v2 Play-off game on Saturday night at 20:00 (CET).

USA, who beat Finland by 10-4, and Korea, 7-2 winners over France, will subsequently play in the tie-breaker to decide who finishes in third position on Saturday afternoon at 16:00 (CET).

The responses of the skips after the games were interesting. USA's John Shuster was analytical, saying: "We really put some pressure on early and got a big three in that first end by executing early, which we hadn’t done all week. So we got a better start and hung on and played a couple really good ends later."

Meanwhile the Czech Republic's Jiri Snitil was surprised. He said: "That was a big surprise but I'm feeling cool, great. I didn't know the situation and I thought there was going to be a lot of tie-breaks tomorrow. I was getting ready for that and all of a sudden...we're playing the 1v2 game against the Germans!"

Speaking about the game itself, he added: "Again that was a close game, very tight. Even though New Zealand haven't qualified, I still see them as an experienced team who can take the pressure."

Asked about how he would be approaching his Play-off game he said: "I'm going to keep it going shot by shot, end by end."

Germany skip John Jahr said: “After the very slow start we are very, very happy. We had a very good game, except maybe the last rock from Felix (Schulze) in the tenth end, but a very strong game – I am proud of my team. It was a nice evening for us - there was a good support tonight".

Looking forward, he said: “We just need to play better than the Czechs tomorrow. We have to play our game, make a game plan like we did at the Europeans, like we did here. We have to calm down, slow it down sometimes, then we have to speed it up. We have to play like today and like yesterday and if we do then I am sure we will have a good chance.”

In the women's sixth session, China and Japan both won to keep their unbeaten records intact.

They are also guaranteed places in the top play-off game as, with only one round-robin session to go, they cannot now be caught by any of the other teams.

To achieve this position, China played Italy and they moved into an early lead in the third end when their skip Bingyu Wang tapped back the counting Italian stone to score two points for a 3-1 lead.

Not to be outdone, Italian skip Veronica Zappone had a good tap-back of her own in the next end, also to score two points to level the score at 3-3.

However in the eighth end, with the score at 7-4, Wang played an angle raise tap back to score two more points for a 9-4 lead.

Italy took one point in the ninth end and then conceded, with the score at 9-5 to China.

While China now march on, this result put an end to the slight hopes that the Italians still had and took them out of the play-off hunt.

China skip Wang said afterwards: "We made this game a little tough four ourselves in a few ends, but after the fifth end we relaxed and felt a bit more comfortable with the rocks and draw weight which helped us win."

Looking forward to her showdown with Japan, she added: “Playing against Japan is good as it will let us prepare for the Play-off games against them. We like playing against Japan, they are so strong, so we want to play well, with more confidence and more comfortably."

Meanwhile, Japan were up against the Czech Republic and, after a cagey start with two blank ends, Japan's skip Ayumi Ogasawara played a draw-shot in the fourth end to score four points for a 4-1 lead.

The Czechs never really recovered from this blow, but in the seventh end their skip Anna Kubeskova had the consolation of hitting out a Japanese stone for one point to reduce the Japanese lead at that stage to 6-3.

The final score in this game was 7-4 to Japan and they now go on to a final round-robin showdown with China to determine which of the two will top the table.
After the game, Japan skip Ogasawara spoke about the four in the fourth end, saying: “It was a good shot, however it was not just my shot - everyone was good - the line call and the sweeping, so all of us made that shot."

More generally she added: "This morning we had a game against Germany and then we had that game against the Czech Republic - we played well in both games so we are feeling very good right now.”

In the third game of this session, with Latvia sitting out with a bye, Norway faced Germany, both fighting to stay involved in the play-off scenario.

In the second end Germany's skip Andrea Schoepp hit out a Norwegian stone to score two points and level the game score at 2-2.

Later, in the tenth end, Schoepp missed on a double take-out attempt to give up a steal of one point, as Norway won by 7-4.

Afterwards, Norway's skip Marianne Roervik said: "We're still alive and it feels very, very good. We were disappointed that we lost to both China and Japan but we are very happy that this result has gone our way, of course we're pleased. Our goal is to play for an Olympic spot and we're in there, at least in a tie-breaker."

Norway are now assured of at least a tie-breaker for the third play-off slot, and they now sit out the last round-robin session while both Germany who face Italy and the Czech Republic play already eliminated Latvia, both in need of a victory in these concluding games to keep their campaigns alive.

RESULTS & STANDINGS

Men’s Session 7: USA 10, Finland 4; Japan 7, Germany 8; Korea 7, France 2; Czech Republic 7, New Zealand 6.

Men’s Standings Round-robin:

1. Germany 5-2 (Qualified for 1v2 Play-off against Czech Republic)
1. Czech Republic 5-2 (Qualified for 1v2 Play-off against Germany)
3. USA 5-2 (to play tie-breaker against Korea)
3. Korea 5-2 (to play tie-breaker against USA)
5. New Zealand 3-4
6. Finland 2-5
7. France 2-5
8. Japan 1-6

Women’s Session 6: Italy 5, China 9; Czech Republic 4, Japan 7; Norway 7, Germany 4 (Latvia - bye)

Women’s Standings after 6 sessions:
1. China 5-0 (Qualified for 1v2 Play-off against Japan)
1. Japan 5-0 (Qualified for 1v2 Play-off against China)
3. Norway 3-3
4. Czech Republic 2-3
4. Germany 2-3
6. Latvia 1-4
7. Italy 0-5

SCHEDULE
Saturday, December 13, 2013:

(all times CET)

Women’s Round-robin session 7: 08:00

Men’s tie-breaker: USA v Korea 16:00

Men’s 1v2 Play-off: Germany v Czech Republic 20:00

ENDS
Notes to Editors:

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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