Italy men bound for Olympic Winter Games 2018 in PyeongChang, Korea

  • Italy men celebrate their win Photo: © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

Italy became the first men’s team to qualify for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games from the Olympic Qualification Event 2017, being staged in Pilsen, Czech Republic, when they beat Denmark by 6-5 in the first qualification game on Sunday (10 December) morning.

Italy – skip and third Joel Retornaz, fourth Amos Mosaner, second Simone Gonin, and lead Daniele Ferrazza, supported by alternate Andrea Pilzer – now become the ninth National Olympic Committee in the men’s Olympic curling line-up. Retornaz was also skip in the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

Denmark have a second chance to join them when they face the Czech hosts in the second sudden-death play-off game later at 16:00 (CET) – live on national broadcasters and World Curling TV.

This game was tight all the way and featured three blank ends. In the tenth end, with the score at 5-4 in Italy’s favour, Denmark had to settle for just one point when skip Rasmus Stjerne’s last stone feathered a guard on the way in, meaning that he could not complete the double take-out for the two points that would have won him the game, but just take one point for 5-5 and an extra end.

In that extra end, Italy’s fourth player Amos Mosaner played a double take-out across the house to score the one point that gave his team a 6-5 victory.

This result means that the men’s Olympic line-up now consists of (in order of qualification ranking): Canada, Sweden, United States, Japan, Switzerland, Great Britain (qualification earned by Scotland), Norway, hosts Korea, and now Italy. The Czech Republic or Denmark will complete that line-up.

The next live game, on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (note geo-blocking applies), at this event will be Italy v Denmark women at 12:00, Central European Time (+1 hours, Greenwich Mean Time) on Sunday (10 December) afternoon.

They said it

Joel Retornaz; skip, Italy (after 6-5 extra end win over Denmark to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games): “It feels great, there are no words to describe it. I’ve been to the Olympic once, but we were the hosting country. This has such a different taste, earning the right on the ice feels great, it feels like a dream for me. Amos [Mosaner, Italy’s fourth] likes to play that type of stone [double take-out with last stone]. We swept it all the way down and made the double – great!”

Rasmus Stjerne; skip, Denmark (after 5-6 loss to Italy): “We’re down right now. We had our chances but did not really capitalise early. We played a perfect extra end and Amos made a wonderful double, there’s not really much more to say. We have another game and we need to go back and re-group and get ready for that last game. It’s not going to be difficult to get up for the next game. We’re here to compete and we knew it was going to be tight. We’re a tough team.”

Men’s first qualification game result: Denmark 5-6 Italy

Standings after men’s first qualification game (W-L):

Q Italy 5-3
P Denmark 6-2
P Czech Republic 4-3
Russia 4-3
China 4-3
Finland 3-4
Germany 2-5
Netherlands 1-6

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