Dramatic last 16 games see Switzerland, Norway, Czech Republic and Finland progress

  • Norway's Magnus Nedregotten Photo: © WCF / Céline Stucki

The second session of the last 16 games in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2017 in Lethbridge, Canada’s ATB Centre, saw Switzerland, Norway, Czech Republic and Finland take to the ice with hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals.

Of these teams, Switzerland and Czech Republic have earned their first Olympic Qualification Points in the scramble towards the top of the rankings.

They guarantee themselves a minimum of five Olympic points from this event now after Switzerland beat Spain 8-5 and Czech Republic won against Hungary 8-6.

It was a game of steals for Finland’s Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamaki against previously unbeaten USA. With the scores level at five in the eighth end, USA’s Rebecca Hamilton had a chance to win the game with a draw to the four-foot for one point. The stone slid too far, giving Finland the single point steal they needed to force an extra end.

In the ninth end, Oona Kauste made a perfect freeze on the button to sit shot stone. USA had a short angle run-back to unlock the shot stone from the button, but the stone over curled, giving Finland the 6-5 victory.

Switzerland’s unbeaten pair, Jenny Perret and Rios Martin, faced Spain in a tight match-up. Switzerland stole the momentum in the fifth end with a steal of one to take a 7-4 lead. With another steal in the sixth end for Switzerland, Spain were unable to produce a big enough score in the seventh end and the game would finish 8-5.

The 2013 and 2015 world champions, Hungary, faced Czech Republic. In the fourth end, Hungary’s Zsolt Kiss was heavy on a draw to the four-foot for four points, settling for three to take a two-point lead, 4-2. It was all Czech Republic in the second half, scoring two points in the fifth and sixth end to tie the game 5-5 heading into the final end. In the eighth end, the Czechs put the pressure on Hungary, sitting two stones staggered on the button behind cover. Opting to play offensive rather than defensive, Hungary left themselves a difficult slash double for the win. Czech Republic stole two points making the final score, 8-6.

Norway had a strong start against Italy, scoring three points in the third end to grab an early lead. Italy battled back with back-to-back two point scores with the hammer to tie the game into the seventh end. On a power play, Norway earned two points and stole another two in the final end to earn their quarter-final spot 9-5.

They said it

Martin Rios; Switzerland (after 8-5 win over Spain): “We had a good start. A poor second and third end. We had a good chance to score three in the fourth, we just had to come down with the weight. We’re always heavy in the first half, especially me. We had a good second half – we put more pressure on them. Whenever they made a little mistake we put more pressure on them and in the end that’s probably the difference.”

Magnus Nedregotten; Norway (after 9-5 win over Italy): “We managed to get our deuce in the power play and just trying to hang on them in their power play, it just went well. It was just a game that any team could win, someone had to win. We were fortunate to win today. I was a bit too nervous in this game, missing a couple of easy shots. I know why because there is so much on the line. [In our next game] Switzerland might be the favourites of that game – so, we try and have fun, play our best and see how it goes.”

Zuzana Hjkova; Czech Republic (after 8-6 win over Hungary): "A few stones I just didn’t believe that we are not better or the angle is not as we expected or the draw is not as we wanted and we were just thinking ‘it must come to the last end!’ just all the small things must come together in the last end and it actually did so we are a little bit proud of ourselves for doing that.”

Tomi Rantamaki; Finland (after 6-5 extra end win over USA): “Before the game we analysed how they’d played in their earlier games and we noticed some maybe weaknesses or points we could address on and we tried to shake them out of their comfort zone. I think half of the reason for winning now is that preparation and we were totally in good concentration mode, we were in the zone. We have to zero everything and start life again. Nothing has happened so far and all our lives are in our future.”

Results after second last 16 games: Switzerland 8-5 Spain; Norway 9-5 Italy; Czech Republic 8-6 Hungary; USA 5-6 Finland

Standings: visit http://www.worldcurling.org/wmdcc2017/livescores

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of this championship on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Live broadcast coverage may be geo-blocked in your region. For all broadcast information visit, www.worldcurling.org/broadcast

To keep up-to-date with all the action from the WMDCC 2017, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #WMDCC2017 #Roadto2018 #curling

WCTV highlights next live game: Latvia v Canada (Friday 28 April at 19.30, -6 UTC)