Day 7: Men's Semi-final & Women's Play-off

Scotland skip, Eve Muirhead, led her team to the gold medal game after defeating Sweden Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Defending champions Scotland booked their place in the final of the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships when skip Eve Muirhead led her team to a convincing 9-3 victory in Friday's Page play-offs in Karlstad, Sweden.

In the second end of the game, Swedish fourth player Maria Prytz opened the scoring with a draw for one point inside four Scottish stones already in the house. But the Scottish break-through came in the fifth end when Muirhead had a nose-hit for two points.

When she followed that up with a hit for four points in the eighth end, the game was effectively over. The final score was 9-3 as Muirhead moved into her third successive European final. Sweden have a second chance to face the Scot again as they now drop down to the sole semi-final.

After the game, Muirhead said: "I really enjoyed that game and the girls made my job easy. We managed to turn the hammer round in the fifth end and then saw it off in the second half. We blanked the seventh end and went for a two in the eighth and came out with a four, which was a bit of a bonus". She added: "I love these big game, we've trained so hard all season and this shows all our hard work is beginning to pay off."

The other Page game featured Russia, third in the round-robin rankings, and fourth-ranked Denmark.
Denmark took the early lead when skip Lene Nielsen had a draw-shot to score three points in the third end. But the Russians fought back and levelled the score at 5-5 in the sixth end with a nice draw by skip Anna Sidorova. Russia eventually won by 7-6 to move onto the semi-final against Sweden, while the Danes await the loser of that game to play for bronze medals.

Afterwards, Sidorova said: "It was a really close game. We were so happy because it meant a lot for me and my team. It’s the second chance to get to the final so it’s a pretty big win for us."

The men's semi-final was going on at the same time, between Norway and the Czech Republic. In this game, the Czechs went in front in the fourth end when skip Jiri Snitil drew into the house to score two points. But the Norwegians were not to be outdone and in the next end their skip, Thomas Ulsrud, did the same, drawing for two points to take a 3-2 lead. The Norwegians eventually won by 6-4 and now face Sweden again in the men's final, while the Czechs play Denmark for bronze.

Speaking about the final, Ulsrud said: "I certainly hope we can do it. The boys are getting pumped. I’m looking forward to playing Niklas in front of his home crowd." Reflecting on his team's performance in the semi-final, he said: "We took two in the fifth and two in the seventh which were probably the big turning points for us."

The men’s bronze medal game between Czech Republic and Denmark and the women’s semi-final between Russia and Sweden will take place at 20:00 (CET) on Friday, December 14.

The men’s gold medal game between Sweden and Norway will take place at 15:00 (CET) on Saturday, December 15.

Men’s Standings after Semi-final:

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)
Czech Republic 7-4 (will play in bronze medal game against Denmark. Qualified for WMCC 2013)
Denmark 6-4 (will play in bronze medal game against Czech Republic. 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 3-6 (To play Finland - winner of B-Group - in best of 3 games 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 Play-offs:

Scotland 8-2 (will play gold medal game against winner of semi-final. Qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship (WWCC) 2013, Riga, Latvia)
Russia 8-2 (will play semi-final against Sweden. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
Sweden 7-3 (will play semi-final against Russia. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
Denmark 7-4 (will play bronze medal game against loser of semi-final. 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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