Day 7: Men's Bronze Medal & Women's Semi-final

Czech Republic men won their first medal at a major international curling event, beating Denmark to take bronze Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

The first medal of the 2012 Le Gruyere European Curling Championship was won in Karlstad, Sweden, by the Czech men on Friday evening, when they beat Denmark by 12-4.

In this game Czech skip Jiri Snitil took a 6-2 lead into the half-time break with a hit for three points in the fifth end. But Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne responded in the next end with a hit for two points that closed the gap to 6-4 in the Czechs' favour.

The Czechs stretched their lead again in the seventh when Snitil drew for three points and 9-4 lead. Eventually, Denmark conceded after the eighth end with the score at 12 -4, leaving a proud Czech team to pick up their nation's first medals at a major international curling event.

Afterwards, an elated Snitil said: “Unbelievable, I’m almost crying, I’m so happy. It was a tight game. I think we figured out the sheet of ice better than the Danish which I think decided the game. This is the first medal for Czech Republic men or women, the first big one! It is very satisfying for Czech curling. We have been working hard, we have a good junior programme, we have a newish club, so everyone has been working hard to achieve results. This is a good day for the Association, a big day."

At the same time, Russia beat Sweden in the sole women's semi-final to go on to face defending champions Scotland in Saturday's final.

Russia took the lead in the second end when skip Anna Sidorova hit to score three points for a 3-2 score. Sweden took a 5-4 lead in the fifth end when fourth player Maria Prytz hit to score one point. After the regulation ten ends, the teams were tied on 6-6 and, despite not having last stone advantage, Russia took two points in the extra end when Prytz wrecked on a front guard with her final stone. This saw Russia win 8-6 and book their place in the final, while Sweden will play Denmark for the bronze medal, both games being played on Saturday morning.

Afterwards, Sidorova said: “It’s amazing, I’m really proud of my team – when I say team it’s not only four players, it’s also the alternate, the coaches, the doctor and all of the team. I’m really proud and I just wanted to thank all of them. The girls won gold in 2006, so it will be the second one for them, but for me it will be the first, and the only thing I want to do in my life in curling is win everything that I can. This is a dream for every professional sportsperson so it really is a dream for me."

Looking forward to her final, she said: "I remember our earlier game against Scotland. It was really tight and they only won in the last end and the percentages of my team were not as good as they could be. So we have a bit more confidence now that we have medals and I’m sure we can play even better.”

France, who finished eighth in the A group rankings, beat B group winners Finland by 11-10 after an extra end in their first of the best-of-three series which will determine which of these two teams will take up the last available European slot at this season's Ford World Men’s Curling Championship.

In the men’s B-Group, with Finland taking gold, Latvia took silver and Netherlands won bronze. As a result, Finland and Latvia qualify for the ECC 2013 A-Group.

In the Women’s B-Group, Latvia took the gold medal, Norway silver and Austria bronze. This means that Latvia and Norway women qualify for ECC 2013 A-Group.

However, there is no women's challenge this year, as explained in the following statement by Jeanette Johnston, ECF Director of Competitions: "The ECF Board made the decision that the World Challenge game in the Women's European Championship Competition would not take place should the winner of the B Group be Latvia because they already have a place in the World Championships as host nation - therefore there was no Challenger."

Germany, who finished seventh in the A group will now take up the final European slot in the World Women’s Curling Championship 2013.

All remaining games will be played on Saturday, December 15. All times CET. Russia will play Scotland in the women’s gold medal game which begins at 10:00 while Sweden will play Denmark in the bronze medal game which begins at 09:30.

Sweden will play Norway in the men’s gold medal game which begins at 15:00.

Men’s Standings after Bronze Medal:

Sweden 9-1 (Will play in gold medal game against Norway. Qualified for Ford World Men’s Curling Championship (WMCC) 2013, Victoria, Canada)
Norway 8-3 (will play in gold medal game against Sweden. Qualified for WMCC 2013)
3. Czech Republic 8-4 (Bronze medal winners. Qualified for WMCC 2013)
4. Denmark 6-5 (Qualified for WMCC 2013)
5. Russia 5-4 (qualified for WMCC 2013)
6. Switzerland 5-4 (qualified for WMCC 2013)
7. Scotland 4-5 (qualified for WMCC 2013)
8. France 4-6 (leading best of 3 games 1-0 against Finland to qualify for WMCC 2013)
9. Germany 1-8 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)
10. Hungary 0-9 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)

Women’s Standings after Semi-final:

Scotland 8-2 (will play gold medal game against Russia. Qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship (WWCC) 2013, Riga, Latvia)
Russia 9-2 (will play gold medal game against Scotland. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
Denmark 7-4 (will play bronze medal game against Sweden. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
Sweden 7-4 (will play bronze medal game against Denmark. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
5. Switzerland 6-4 (Qualified for WWCC 2013)
6. Italy 4-5 (Qualified for WWCC 2013)
7. Germany 4-6 (Qualified for WWCC 2013 as Latvia, hosts of WWCC 2013, won Women’s B-Group)
8. Czech Republic 3-7
9. Hungary 1-8 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)
10. Finland 1-8 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)

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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