Day 4: w7 and M7 Roundup

Russia won both of their games today to keep them in joint first position with Sweden Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Sweden's Niklas Edin lost his unbeaten record at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden when he lost to Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne in Tuesday afternoon's seventh round-robin session.

Denmark eventually won 9-5 to rob Sweden of their position alone at the top of the rankings. On the way to a victory that keeps Denmark in medal contention, Stjerne played a nice, well-swept draw for two points to level the score at 3-3 in the fourth end. Then, in the seventh end, Stjerne played a hit and roll to score three points and put the final result beyond doubt.

After his victory, Stjerne said: “It’s a big win. We knew we needed two more wins to stay in contention. These guys have been playing good all week but I think we caught them on a bad day."

Sweden now share top position with defending champions Norway, who beat Germany by 6-4 with regular third player Torger Nergard skipping.

Germany are fighting to avoid relegation, and in this game, their skip Andreas Lang played a draw for two points in the fourth end to level the score at 2-2. But it was too little as Norway emerged as 6-4 winners.

Afterwards, regular skip, Thomas Ulsrud, explained: "Torger is not feeling that well so he was skipping. I think this was actually the first official game that I swept.

It was a new experience but it was fun. I’ve never done any sweeping training before – the guys actually gave me a hard time, but it was a lot of fun standing around at the hogline talking rubbish with all the other sweepers."

Denmark's win over Sweden places them in joint third place with the Czech Republic, who enhanced their chances of reaching the medal games with an 8-3 win over Switzerland.

In the fifth end, Czech skip Jiri Snitil played a gentle tap-up to score two points and in the eighth, he sealed his win with a draw for three points.

After this win, a beaming Snitil said: "That was a big one. Last year we got into tie-breakers on 5-4 and we're onto five wins with two games to come, so we really want to get into the top four and hope for a medal." He added: "We've tried to learn from each game and it seems to be working. Our play is getting more consistent, we don't have the crucial misses. This is our eighth Europeans and we've always been coming from behind, and now finally we're in a higher position, so it feels good."

Russia beat Hungary by 7-4 to share fifth place with Switzerland on the rankings and retain a chance of making it to the medal games.

In the fifth game of the session, Scotland beat France by 9-7, but, along with Germany and win-less Hungary, both of these teams are still in the relegation zone.

For France, skip Thomas Dufour was on the bench with alternate Tony Angiboust skipping. When he came off the ice, Scottish skip Tom Brewster wasn't quite sure what position his team was now in. He said: "I'm not totally aware of what the standings are but it's nice to get a win."

Eight European team places are available in the draw for the Worlds in Victoria, Canada, with whoever finishes eighth being challenged in a best-of-three format for the final place by this week's B group winners.

The situation is that, with two games left to play, Scotland are two wins ahead of their nearest rivals for seventh place, Germany and France, and a clear non-challenged qualification slot for the Worlds.

Germany and France play each other in the last round-robin draw, so the worst that can happen to Scotland in their last two draws is that they go into a tie-breaker for that seventh place.

Men's Standings* (after 7 sessions):
Norway 6-1
Sweden 6-1
Czech Republic 5-2
Denmark 5-2
Russia 4-3
Switzerland 4-3
Scotland 3-4
Germany 1-6
France 1-6
Hungary 0-7

In the women's seventh round-robin session, Sweden made short work of Finland, winning 9-2 in just six ends, with fourth player Maria Prytz hitting for three in the third end to open her team's account. Finnish skip Anne Malmi played a nice tap-raise in the fourth end for one point, but it was too little to hinder the Swedes.

After this game, Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridsson said: “We played very well tonight. We expected to beat Finland but they played very well, they have very good third and fourth players. We kept our focus and played at a really high level."

Sweden share top spot on six wins with Russia, who beat Hungary by 8-3, thanks partly to scores of three in the fourth and sixth ends.

Sitting behind these two on one win less are Switzerland and Denmark. Current world champions, Switzerland, found themselves in a real dog-fight with the Czech Republic. In the sixth end their skip Mirjam Ott hit for three and, despite strong Czech opposition, Switzerland ran out as 7-4 winners.

By contrast, Denmark went down to a thumping 2-9 defeat in six ends at the hands of Scotland. In this game, Danish skip Lene Nielsen contributed to her own downfall by giving away four points when she came up well short with her final draw in the fourth.

Scotland 's Eve Muirhead's on the other hand made a double take-out for two points in the sixth end, which was just one of a number of fine shots from the Scottish skip.

Scotland are defending champions, and their skip Eve Muirhead said: "Our past championships have had the same trend - we've started off slow and gotten better and better, and if that continues that'll be good. It'll be tough to get better than that performance tonight though, because that was pretty good."

Italy recorded just their second win of the week with a 9-2 defeat of Germany. In the sixth end of this game, German skip Andrea Schopp scored two with a take-out shot, her only points of the game, while in the seventh end, Italy's Diana Gaspari drew for one point as her team built their lead.

Despite this win, Italy, like Germany, remain in the relegation zone. Afterwards, Gaspari said: “The win against Germany was important to gain a spot in the Worlds. We have to win at least one more game and then I think there are a lot of teams in our bunch - but if we win both it is better."

Women's Standings* (after 7 sessions):

Sweden 6-1
Russia 6-1
Switzerland 5-2
Denmark 5-2
Scotland 5-2
Italy 2-5
Czech Republic 2-5
Germany 2-5
Finland 1-6
Hungary 1-6

*All standings take account of win-loss record and draw shot challenge (DSC)

Extensive televised coverage of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2012 can be seen by viewers in Europe on Eurosport and in Sweden on TV4. Additional live coverage will be available via the internet on the Eurosport Player for fans in Europe and, for the first time, coverage will also be available on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV for viewers outside of the Eurosport TV/Player European Territory. Complete coverage details can be seen here: http://ecc2012.worldcurling.net/tv-broadcast-web-tv-coverage-schedule

Event website: http://ecc2012.worldcurling.net for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and results from Group A and Group B.

Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCurlingChampionships

Twitter Hashtags: #ecc2012 #curling
European Curling Federation http://europeancurling.com/

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