Hosts Czech Republic and Italy men reach Olympic qualification play-offs

  • Photo: © WCF / Richard Gray

In Saturday afternoon’s dramatic last session of men’s round-robin play at the Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic, Denmark beat Italy by 8-3 to consolidate their position as top Play-off qualifiers.

To achieve this win, their skip Rasmus Stjerne played a delicate tap-raise shot to score three points in the third end, and then finished the game with a score of four points in the eighth end.

Finland beat Germany by 8-4 but the real drama was taking place on adjacent sheets, with Czech Republic facing Netherlands and China playing Russia.

The Czechs opened strongly, with skip Jiri Snitil hitting out a Netherlands stone to score two points in the first end. They went on to win by 8-4 and then had to wait for the Russia - China result to learn if their Play-off hopes were still alive.

In the fifth end of the game between China and Russia, with the score tied at 2-2, China’s skip Rui Liu drew his last stone directly onto the button – just inside two Russian stones already there, to take one point from the end and go into the break with a 3-2 lead.

In the ninth end, with the score tied at 5-5, Russian skip Alexey Timofeev played a tap-back to score three points from the end. Russia then ran China out of stones in the tenth end for an 8-5 win.

These results meant that four teams China, Czech Republic, Italy and Russia were tied on four wins and three losses behind leaders Denmark.

The head-to-head record among these four teams determined that Italy ranked second overall, and Czech Republic were third.

Denmark will now face Italy in the first Play-off game, with the winner qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games and the loser then facing Czech Republic for the second and last available Olympic qualification place.

The next live game, on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (note geo-blocking applies), at this event will be Italy v China women at 19:00, Central European Time (+1 hours, Greenwich Mean Time) on Saturday (9 December) evening in the first qualification game.

They said it

Jiri Snitil; skip, Czech Republic (after 8-4 win over the Netherlands): “I feel good now, but it depends on the game still playing as to whether I’ll feel better or worse in the next few minutes. We had to put everything that we had into this game and did not have time to look at the other games.”

Snitil (after Russia beat China to allow Czech to qualify): “I’m ready for the play-offs… it feels good. We’ve had tough times here, but we’ve bounced back and Russia have helped us, so we’re happy to be there and it’s in our hands now.”

Alexey Timofeev; skip, Russia (after 8-5 win over China): “We played a lot of good shots so we have a good feeling about this game. Before the game we thought we could qualify but we can take what happened here as a good experience. We are a young team and we will keep going and move forward.”

Men’s session seven results: Finland 8-4 Germany; Italy 3-8 Denmark; Czech Republic 8-4 Netherlands; China 5-8 Russia

Standings after men’s session seven (W-L):

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

To keep up-to-date with all the action from these championships, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #OQE2017 #Roadto2018 #curling

WCTV highlights