Curling: Scotland hopes on ice as Sweden make final

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Scotland missed out on the direct route to today’s final at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Canada when they went down 6-5 to European champions Sweden in the Page 1-v-2 play-off game.

The Scots can still join Sweden in the final, but they must now win a semi-final in the early hours of this morning (UK time). Their opponents will be the winners of the Page 3-v-4 play-off between Canada and Denmark.

The Scots finished top of the round-robin standings, and a surprise win for the Swedes against Canada on Thursday night elevated them to second place.

In the first-versus-second play-off, from which the winner advances directly to the final, Scotland came from 5-3 behind to level the match at 5-5 going to the tenth end, but Sweden sneaked a 6-5 victory that guarantees them either gold or silver.

Scottish skip David Murdoch said: “That was obviously disappointing, not to get through to the final at the first opportunity. I thought we were playing pretty well. There were a couple of key shots we just didn’t quite make tonight.

“We’re just going to have to bin that and come out tomorrow and bring our ‘A’ game. We never really got that real good set-up where we were on the front foot and then they chased us. We’ve still got lots to play for, it’s all or nothing now, so we’re just going to have to wait to see who we’ll play in the semi-final. To be honest, I can’t wait to get another game, because this team fight. We’ve done that before, we’ve done that in the past, and we’ll do it again”.

The game was tight all the way with Sweden making the early breakthrough when they scored two points in the second end for a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, Swedish skip Niklas Edin drew with his last stone to score one and move on to a 3-2 lead. Scotland then levelled the game in the sixth end when Murdoch drew for one point, but, in a see-saw game, Edin then scored two points with a draw in the seventh to re-establish a lead, at 5-3. Murdoch then played a delicate tap-up in the eighth for one point to reduce the Swedish lead to 5-4, then, in the ninth, Edin missed a take-out attempt, allowing the Scots to level the game at 5-5.

In the tenth, Edin was facing three Scottish counters as he played his last stone, but he drew nicely for the one point that gave Sweden a 6-5 win and the direct berth in the world final.