THE LAHLUM CURLING ROUND REPORT 6
First pass: Women´s Group A, round 9
Scotland was the celebrated and somewhat unexpected winner of the round robin before the last round, and after the round had extended their record to an outstanding 8/9. Their start in the match against Turkey today however was far from perfect: The Scottish team had the hammer, but still lost the first end 0–1 after Eve Muirhead made a rare mistake on her last stone. Muirhead and Scotland however hit hard back in the second end, winning three points. The lead still was only 3–2 after the fourth end. Turkey had won the third end 1–0, while Scotland in the fourth end pushed their last stone through the house to keep the hammer with a 0–0 result. This turned out to be a good choice, as Scotland got a strong initiative in the fifth end and won this 2–0 – reaching a promising 5–2 lead before the break. The match was more or less decided as Scotland in the sixth end succeeded to steal one more point, while Turkey in the the seventh end barely managed a 1–0 win. Up 6–3 with the hammer in a fairly open eight end, Muirhead however turned off her concentration one moment too early – allowing Turkey to steal one point and keep the match going. Scotland of course still had it under control with a 6–4 lead plus the hammer before the ninth end. Turning on their concentration again, Scotland successfully used a strategy with scattered stones in the house to win the ninth end 3–0. 3–8 before the tenth end was too much even for young Turks, whom resigned the match. Turkey still can be gratulated with a very promising debut in this top group, now finishing seventh with 3/9 despite a stumbling finish.
Photo: Celine Stucki
Russia as expected had it all under control against Estonia – winning first 2–0 with the hammer in the first end, and then 2–0 without the hammer in the second end. On their second try with the hammer Estonia got a score as they won the third end 1–0 following a nice draw shot. Following a good defence they avoided a loss in the fourth end. The outcome still never was in doubt: Russia had a 6–1 lead following another 2–0 win in the fifth end, curling in an elegant draw shot. Estonia got one more point in the sixth end, but then their defence collapsed in the seventh. As Russia won a massive 5–0 and reached an 11–2 lead, Estonia had enough of this match as well as this championship. Estonia of course made many good stones, but from the first to the last match they proved too uneven to win any match at this new level of the European Championship. Russia following a disappointing first round loss have been playing outstanding towards the final rounds of the round robin, and finished second by a very strong 7/9.
Photo: Celine Stucki
Germany versus Czech Republic was an extremely important match for both teams, as Germany needed a win to capture the last place in the semi finals, while Czech Republic needed a win to save the last place in the A group for next year. While Germany´s very experienced skip Daniela Jentsch appearently was unaffected from the pressure, Czech Republic´s Anna Kubeskova appeared a bit shaken. Being the skip can be a heavy burden in such situations, with all eyes upon you when the final stones are set in every end. The Czech team had the hammer in the first round, but Germany still came ahead 4–0 as the last stone in both ends were blunders. Czech Republic recovered somewhat with a sound 1–0 win, with an accurate last stone, in the third end. Germany however had got the lift they needed, and more or less confirmed their place in the semi final as Jentsch on the final stone of the fourth end cashed in two more points by a nice take out. Czech Republic had a memorable final shot in the seventh end, winning two points and narrowing the score deficit to 4–7. Three point up with the hammer, Germany of course had it all under control and in the end won 9–4 after stealing one final point in the ninth end. Placed ahead Switzerland following a tiny win from their internal meeting, Germany true enough had the margins to reach the semi final this time. It should be mentioned that team Jentsch a had pole out on several earlier championship, including a fifth place from last time.
The match between Italy and Switzerland might qualify as the surprise of this round, but if so only because Switzerland won with a surprisingly big margin. Italy had the advantage of starting with the hammer, but had more or less nothing to play for in the tournament and appeared tame from the start of the match. Following a not too exciting 0–0 in the first end, the match immediately turned in favout of Switzerland as they stole one point in the second end and two more in the third. Switzerland had a pressure also in the fourth end, although Italy´s skip stood the test and saved a 1–0 win by her last stone. Getting the hammer for the first time in then fifth end, Switzerland dominated and picked up two more points, resulting in a 5–1 lead before the break. Afterwards Switzerland continued their inspired play while Italy just cramped, losing two more points in the sixth end. In the seventh end Switzerland again dominated the ice and had the three best stones before Italy´s last stone. As this was a blunder missing all the targets, Italy lost three more points and resigned with 1–10 on the scoreboard. The winning margin for Switzerland was all the more impressive when taking into account that they had the hammer in only one out of seven ends this match. Italy in short had their black out match today, but fortunately it came in a situation in which it had almost no consequences for them or other teams. Switzerland finished off a good tournament with a very good last round. Following the other results, the Suisse players were unlucky to end up fifth among the five teams fighting for the tickets to the semi final. The current World Champions following this failed to reach the semi finals in the European Championships, which says a lot about the level here.
The most exciting match today a bit unexpectedly was the Scandinavian duel between Sweden and Denmark. Sweden had the hammer, but appeared to have lost their focus and failed to use it for the first three ends. Denmark on the other hand played close to their best ability, and after three rounds without the hammer had a very surprising 1–0 lead. Anna Hasselborg however still was on the ice, and demonstrated her power again when winning two points and taking over the lead with a strong take out in the fourth end. The fifth end was a closed and complex positional struggle in which the Swedish players demonstrated the better understanding and gradually outplayed their opponents. Denmark for the first time in the match had the hammer, but the position at that stage was so difficult that Madeleine Dupont actually made a nice performance when limiting the deficit to 0–1. Denmark made better use of the hammer in the sixth end and won 1–0 following a nice draw shot from their skip, but Sweden was back on the track and increased their lead to 5–2 by winning two points in a rather open seventh end. The eight and ninth end combined decided the outcome of this match: Denmark in the eight end had a strong pressure, but failed to make more than one point out of it, while Sweden efficiently cashed in two points by another Hasselborg stroke in the ninth end. At this stage Denmark´s place in next year´s top group was confirmed, and so they at 3–7 before the last end could resign with a clear conscience.
Photo: Celine Stucki
Second pass: Men´s Group A, round 9
The big question about the identity of the fourth member of the semi final club more or less had an answer within the first hour today. The answer turned out to be Norway, despite an uphill start on the match against Scotland. Sweden however had the key and used it, defeating Czech Republic 3–0 with the hammer in the first end, and then stealing two more points in the second. The Czech team recovered and won 1–0 in both their next tries with the hammer. 2–6 after the fifth end still of course was a rather hopeless position. As Sweden continued their inspiring play, picking up two more points after dominating the sixth end, the disillusioned Czech team at a 2–8 score respectfully resigned after sixth end. Remarkably, this was about the only match of the Czech team in which the outcome was given at an early stage. Finishing seventh at 4/9 following this result, the hard working and entusiastic Czech team contributed with a lot of colour to this tournament and it will be interesting to see if they can continue their progress and reach the semi final in upcoming championships. Sweden was back close to their peak today, and finishing second in the round robin they despite a down yesterday remain the most dangerous challenger for Scotland.
Talking about Scotland, one part of their remarkable sucess has been that they play hard for a win from the very first stones of every match – and they often play for a plus even if the opponent has got the hammer. Both these characteristics were seen again today, as Scotland against Norway won 1–0 with the hammer in the first end and then 2–0 without the hammer in the second. The match later slowed down remarkably. Although the struggles were tense, the next five ends all gave a 1–0 win for the team with the hammer. Scotland came very close to increasing their lead further at least in the seventh round, when the measurement between the two best stones went in favour of Norway with a very small margin.
Somehow I felt this match was affected by the other results, as Sweden defating Czech Republic meant that Norway would finish fourth even with a loss here. Scotland anyway gradually increased the pressure during the eight end, until winning three points and reaching an 8–3 lead which forced Norway to resign before the start of the ninth end. The Norwegian team and their fans could be well satisfied to reach the semi finals, although that means the opponent will be Scotland – winning all their nine matches in the round robin, without ever being really close to losing. It remains to test out tomorrow which team has learned most from the first match between the teams. Scotland however was the much better team today, and I afterward had the feeling that Norway will need a much better start to give them a real fight. That in turn will not be easy, as Scotland following their first place in the seeding for the semi finals will get the hammer in the first round also in the semi final.
Italy meanwhile made a somewhat awaiting start against Finland. Italy made few mistakes and in the second end won 2–0 in their first try with the hammer, but the Finn team gave them a hard fight and after the fifth end the score still was balanced at 3–3. The merited Finn team, the oldest of this field and still including two silver medalists from the Olympic Winter Games of 2006, however again failed to catch up with their younger and more ambitious opponents through the second half of the match. As Italy improved their play a little while Finland made all the more mistakes, the italians moved ahead by winning two points in the sixth end and stealing one more in the seventh. The tendency clearly was in favour of the Italian favourites and the final stone of the eight end suddenly became the last one of the match. The legendary Finn skip Kalle Kiiskinen missed a draw shot, giving Italy two points more and an 8–3 lead. Finland immediately resigned the match, and finished tenth as they had lost the internal meeting with the Netherlands. These two teams had a very different road to the B group. The Netherlands improved somewhat towards the end of the tournament, but had to wait much too long for their first win. Finland on the other hand had a promising start as they defeated the much younger German team in the first round, but later lost all their eight matches.
Photo: Celine Stucki
Talking more about the Netherlands, I have had the feeling that this is a team really loving to play curling – even when losing about all the matches. This impression was further strengtened today, although they in the end lost against Denmark too. The Dutch players gave it all for three hours trying to win a second match, although the result had no importance for their group next year and almost no importance for their place (they now finished ninth, and had no chances for a better place even with a win). Much the same can be said about their Danish opponents, whom would finish within place 6–8 anyway. Following a careful start with an open 0–0 end, the match was highly entertaining. Netherlands won 2–0 in the second round, as their final draw shot was just not too long. The Dutch players kept their lead for two tense ends, but then in the fifth end they made some mistakes allowing Denmark to win three points and take over the lead with 3–2. In a match with many hard hit and fast changes, Netherlands won 2–0 and took back the lead in the sixth end. Denmark had a more modest 1–0 win in the seventh end, balancing the score at 4–4. The young Dutchmen had a promising position in the eight end, failed to win more than one point, but still came back in the lead at 5–4.
The ninth end became a decisive turning point, as Denmark following a hard take out won three points. Following this the Danes suddenly had a 7–5 lead before the tenth end. Not the most subtle defence team, Denmark kept the tenth end fairly under control by exchanging of the opponent´s stones. I have noted that such a strategy much more often works out if your team can afford a 1–0 loss, which was the situation here. The Netherlands gave it all to the end, losing the final end 0–2 after one last and rather desperate attempt to win 2–0. The Netherlands following this had an eight lost match, this one with a final score of 5–9. Still the match was very exciting and the Dutch team for sure will come back stronger. Denmark also was an uneven but colourful team in this tournament, and showed a great mentral strength as they after losing the first two matches later won four and ended sixth. The match between Denmark and the Netherlands also very much was what I call a «hammer match». The team having the hammer made two points or more in four out of nine ends – while none of the teams ever succeeded to win a single point when they did not have the hammer. Both teams seen from my place at the tribune have obvious strengths, but also weaknesses they need to improve if they want to challenge the best teams for later championships.
The match between Switzerland and Germany also lost interest when Sweden defeated Czech Republic, as this meant Switzerland could not reach the semi finals even if winning today. Both teams still played bravely on for a win, and this became the last match to finish. The match was tense and the advantage jumped back and forward many times. This too very much was a «hammer match» as nine out of the first ten ends got a winner, but always in favour of the team with the hammer. Germany started with the hammer and had a slight initiative in the first half of the match, leading 3–2 after four ends and 4–3 after the sixth. The tide however gradually turned in favour of the more experienced Suisse team. Leading 5–4 after the seventh end and 6–5 after the ninth they were reported close to winning the match, although Germany both times managed to equalize.
Before the final stone of the tenth end Switzerland had the two best stones, but Germany´s young skip again was ice cold and equalized the score. While Switzerland looked fairly well satisfied to get the hammer in a decisive eleventh end, Germany suddenly appeared tired and found no plans to challenge Switzerland´s plan about exchanging of stones and keeping the house open. Following this, Switzerland after all won 1–0 in the eleventh end and 7–6 in the match. Losing this match somehow was illustrating for the German´s tournament, as they wasted too many chances and were close too strong enough on too many occasions. This however is a team with many chances to come for the future. Switzerland was considered some kind of bronze medal favourite before the first round. Although five wins and fifth place was no disaster, they were of course disappointed not to reach the semi finals. Switzerland over all was unlucky with the margins this time, finish fifth in both the men´s and women´s tournament – in both cases with the same sum of points as the teams on fourth place.
Third pass: Women´s first semi final!
The championship suddenly changed character for us spectators after the end of the round robin today. All chances to watch five exciting curling matches beside each other are gone for this time. Instead, during the finals and semi finals there will be a situation more simular to what we are used to from football and handball, with all eyes and cameras focusing on one very important match between two teams. Unfortunately I missed the first chance to test out this in the rink, as I had to take part in a council meeting in my home town Gjøvik this evening. I look much forward to be back tomorrow, as I now prefer following curling from the tribune. That said, both today´s semi finals were very interesting to follow also via internet.
The first semi final between Russian and Sweden was a rematch from the World Championship semi final earlier this year. Russia then surprisingly defeated Sweden but afterwards lost the final against Switzerland. Sweden and Russia´s meeting earlier this week also was a tiny win for Russia. Following this it was a relevant question whether team Hasselborg had developed some kind of complex for team Kovaleva. If you compare these two great skips (at least if you are me), 32 year old Anna Hasselborg is not only the more merited player, but also the more complete player. Four year younger Alina Kovaleva however is a fast rising curling star whom might be about to challenge Hasselborg´s position as the world´s best women curling skip. Kovaleva suddenly can make amazing hits, and from what we have seen this week she might already be the take out queen among the women curling players.
While both teams had won seven out of nine matches in the round robin, Russia finished second as they won the internal duel against Sweden. Following that, they got the advantage of starting with the hammer in the semi final. Russia established an advantage as they had the best stone in the house center, in a very closed position, when the skips entered the ice to set their first stones. Hasselborg´s last stone was a guard, inviting Russia in for a 1–0 win. This became the result as Kovaleva´s last stone changed nothing
Following a sound start the second end reached an open position, offering Sweden many chances for one point point, but few chances for two points. Russia made a strong last stone, establishing a stone close to the center and hidden behind a guard, with an otherwise empty house. Hasselborg was under pressure in the semi final, but stood the test and equalized the scoreboard at 1–1 following a very accurate draw shot. Russia from the attacking position in the third end apparently made some inaccuracies, as Sweden established the best stone in a half-closed position. This key stone was protected by a guard line, including first a Russiand and then a Swedish stone, in front of the house. Hasselborg invested her first stone in another guard. Kovaleva went for a violent take out that broke up the position, but still left Sweden with the best stone. Hasselborg had no problems to take out the remaining Russian stone, leaving a position in which Sweden had the two best stones. Kovaleva had the choice between a difficult draw shot and a difficult take out, both for a 1–0 win. She went for the take out and succeeded – keeping a 2–1 edge for Russia.
Fourth end started as another half-open and tense duel, in which Sweden got an initiative, with some chances for a two point win. Kovaleva made a great first shot, placing a Russian stone close to the center in between three Swedish stones. In this double edged position Hasselborg came up with a great take out, following the same route to kick out the Russian stone. Kovaleva put another Russian stone in the house, but failed to remove the best Swedish stone if that was her intention. Hasselborg had a difficult shot for a two point win, but failed to make it – hence the hammer team won 1–0 for the fourth round in a row, with a 2–2 score.
The fifth end was very open with a lof of exchanges, and the house was nearly empty when the skips entered. None of them had any obvious way to change the situation, and none of them made much of a try either. Kovaleva could make another 1–0 win just by sending a draw shot into the empty house, but instead let the stone pass through to make a 0–0 result and keep the hammer advantage after the break.
The sixth end also first was very open with sound decisions from both team. Russia still had a slight initiative offering some chances for a 2–0 win, as they had two scattered stones inside the house. Hasselborg with her first stone decided just to hit out one of the Russian stones, probably hoping this would be sufficient for a 0–1 loss. Kovaleva kept the tension by taking out the new Swedish stone, reestablishing the position with two scattered Russian stones inside the house. Hasselborg found no better try than hitting out the new Russian stone too – leaving Kovaleva with a pretty easy draw shot to win 2–0 and reach a 4–2 lead. The Russian players made no try to hide their joy about this, while the Swedish team looked understandable worried. Something somehow went wrong with the Swedish strategy in the middle of the sixth end. Hasselborg apparently just considered the loss of two points unavoidable afterwards.
Russia continued their good play in the seventh end, succeeding to keep the house open while exchanging some stones. This of course made it easy for Sweden to win one point, but all the more difficult to win two. On their stone five and six, the Russians established an outpost in the house and a guard to protect it. Sweden was able to kick out the Russions stone from the house, but the price to pay was further exchanges. In what could be heard and understood from their discussions, the Swedish players including the skip saw many difficulties at this stage. Hasselborg by a take out removed the best Russian stone and left her own inside the house, leaving the Russians with some difficulties to remove the Swedish stone. Kovaleva still succeeded with her take out, leaving Sweden with the dilemma about blanking the round by a not trivial take out or winning 1–0 by a fairly trivial draw shot. Entering the ninth end one point down with a Russian hammer of course was not a tempting alternative, hence Hasselborg went for the take out and succeeded. The Russians in the final position had some looks at one of their stones just outside the house, but made no tries to argue it was in.
Sweden following this had postponed their problems for two rounds, but at the score 2–4 the pressure of course increased for each end. Having failed twice in open positions, the Swedes went for a more closed one in the ninth. The Russians probably played inaccurate when opening up the position, as Sweden afterwards soon had the two best stones and much better chances. A little short of time, the Swedish team took a time out to consult their English-speaking coach about the position and possible plans for it. I had the feeling during this end that the Russian mentality about a 0–2 loss had changed as the match moved towards the end, as they trusted their own abibility to win the tenth round if getting the hammer. Worst case scenario from a Russian point of view would be losing this troublesome end 0–3, and they were obviously eager to avoid that risk. Kovaleva anyway made another great take out on her final shot in this end, succeeding to eliminate two scattered Swedish stones. Although Sweden following this had only one stone left in the house, Hasselborg had a pretty straightforward road to a 2–0 win. 4–4 after the ninth end somehow felt unavoidable, as it was a result both teams could be fairly satisfied with. For Sweden it was an improvement still offering practical chances to reach the final, while Russia kept a clear advantage with an even score and the hammer.
The tenth end also was half-open, as Sweden came up with guards while Russia had the best stone inside the house. When Hasselborg made the seventh stone for Sweden in this end, she went for another guard. The Russian team at this stage appeared confident that they would still win, but not convinced, and they requested a tim out to discuss the position with their coach. After the time out Kovaleva also decided not to shoot against the house, instead removing the Swedish guard to open lines for a final shot against the house. Hasselborg in her final stone went for an attack on Russias best stone, and succeeded to remove it – leaving Sweden with the best stone inside the house, protected by a guard outside of it.
Kovaleva had a difficult choice to make about trying to pass the Swedish stones with a draw shot or remove both by a double take out. True to her style and strength she went for the second solution.
Suddenly, after more than two and a half hour of a very tense fight, it was all to be decided with one stone within seconds. Kovaleva gave the stone an amazing speed and the right direction. Still it failed. The Swedish guard following the Russian plan hit into the stone in the center. The center stone was kicked out of the house, but the guard was not. Sweden stole a point in the tenth end, winning the semi final 5–4. From my position, after such an important curling drama was decided by such a small margin, it was easy to symphatize both with the happiness of the Swedish women team and with the sorrow of the Russians.
Fourth pass: Women´s second semi final!
Scotland tonight entered the second semi final against Germany as a big favourite. This partly following their fantastic result in the round robin, and partly following the reportedly massive score from earlier meetings between team Muirhead and team Jentsch. Scotland following their better result in the qualification also had the hammer advantage in the first end. The experienced skips Eve Muirhead and Daniela Jentsch, now aged 31 and 39 respectively, know each other very well from many earlier occasions, but there have been some changes especially in the German team along the road. This semi final also demonstrated a different style of play, with team Jentsch enjoying more draw shots and team Muirhead enjoyng more take outs.
The first end was a half closed positional struggle, in which Scotland had the hammer advantage and a slight edge before the final stones. Scotland had the two best stones in the house before Muirheads first shot. They were however placed beside each other and the Scottish skip had no problems to remove them with a double take out. Following this it appeared that Scotland had good chances to win two points. Jentsch however hit back with a remarkable double take out, hitting out two scattered Scottish stones from the house. Muirhead nearly looked impressed, and decided to keep the hammer by blanking the first end.
Second end reached a much more closed and positionally complex position, in which Germany after the first stone from Jentsch had both more stones and the best stone in the house. Muirhead chose a positional answer, pushing one of the German stones in the house closer to the center. Jentsch in turn sneaked her final stone in closer to the center. Blanking now was not an option for Muirhead, as the house was almost full of stones. Muirhead lost this draw shot duel with Jentsch, as the final Scottish stone hit another stone and stopped before reaching the center – allowing Germany to steal a point and take a 1–0 lead.
Third end became more open. Germany had a stone close to the center in an otherwise open house, and Jentsch used her first stone to protect it with a guard. Muirhead however succeeded to pass the guard and remove the German center stone with a nice take out. Jentsch again made a strong draw shot on her final stone in this end, giving Germany the best stone. Muirhead had an open line for a draw shot to win the round 1–0. As she missed it with a small margin, Germany stole a second point and reached a surprising 2–0 lead in the match after three ends. It was definitely a promising start for Germany, especially as Scotland had the hammer in all the first three ends.
A rather closed position appeared in the fourth end, as seven stones were observed in the house, still with three stones left to be played. Scotland had the stone closest to the house center, while Germany had more stones in the house. The position following this was double edged, and Muirhead was under heavy pressure. The outcome of her first shot this round was unclear, complicating further the situation in the crowded center. The last stone from Jentsch clearly gave Germany the best stone, but at the same time opened the center a bit. Muirhead used this opportunity well, and by a small margin Scotland got their first point – reducing the German lead to 1–2.
The fifth end appeared open and fairly balanced, with Scotland having more stones in the house and Germany the hammer stone. Some inaccurate stones from the German team gave Scotland another chance to play for a 2–0 win. Jentsch´s second last stone was inaccurate, and Muirhead following this succeeded with a take out to remove the last German stone in the house. Jenstch lost all chances for a 2–0 win, but still made one point with another safe draw shot. Germany following this had a 3–1 advantage after the fifth end. As Scotland took over the hammer again, the outcome still was open.
In the sixth end Scotland appeared to have a promising position, as they had the hammer and got more stones in the house. The fifth stone however was wasted by Scotland, and Germany had fair chances when the skips entered the scene. Jentsch however made two inaccurate stones. Germany following this had the best stone, but Scotland had a straightforward line to remove it and get a 2–0 win. Muirhead again made a strong take out, balancing the score at 3–3 and leaving the match wide open.
Seventh end again was half open and rather tense. Germany succeeded to establish a center stone, but Scotland succeeded to remove it and took over the initiative before the skips entered, as Germany´s third missed both her shots. Scotland following this had the two best stones, and Muirhead´s strategy was to place out guards for them. The last stone of this end was extremely important, as Jentsch could give Germany everything in between +2 and –2 points. Although the stone was difficult, the result counted as a failure, as Scotland stole one point and had the lead for the first time. The tide apparently had turned. A Scottish lead with 4–3 and another German hammer still left the outcome open with three ends to go.
The eight end was very important and from the start had a fairly open position. Scotland rather obviously would be satisfied to force a 0–1 result, although hoping to steal a point. Eve Muirhead again did well with her first shot, removing German´s best stone. The stone however still was close to the center in the house, and Daniela Jentsch at her best made a draw shot landing perfectly at the house center, in between two Scottish stones. Muirhead with her last stone locked in the German stone with a third stone, offering a 1–0 win although making it difficult and risky to go for a 2–0 win. Jentsch chose a rather safe but unlikely try for a second point, and as this failed the score after the eight end was – 4–4.
Ninth end was another half open position, in which Scotland had the best and Germany the second best stone when the skips entered the ice. Jentsch first tried to protect the German stone in the house with a guard, but probably placed in inaccurate. Scotland took a timeout to discuss the situation, with both teams having around seven minutes left. Helped by the coach the Scottish players probably found the right plan. They still played it wrong, as Muirhead´s draw shot was a few centimetres to short – allowing the German stone to remain the second best. The Germans despite this had a demanding position and decided to place out another guard. Brave Eve Muirhead looked very serious when doing the most important draw shot of the match so far. Commentators often mentions that Muirhead compared with many other top players is much more comfortable with take outs and hits, but she is of course also very good with draw shots. The margin again was small, but she succeeded to win two very important points for her team.
The tide turned further in favour of Scotland as the Germans on their forth stone in the tenth end just missed the Scottish stones with a very hard take out. Scotland before the final two stones for both teams had established a center stone protected by two guards, and Germany following this had a long road to a 2–0 win – which would lead to an even longer road with an eleventh end. Basically playing to lose this end 0–1, Muirhead logically spent her last stones to get rid off two German stones. This left Jentsch with a fairly easy draw shot for one point, but a very difficult shot for two points. Jentsch of course went for the difficult two point shot on the left side of the center. As it failed, Scotland won one more point and the match 7–4. All taken together this was a match gradually changing and in the end getting a very deserved winner, as Scotland dominated the second half much more than Germany dominated the first half.
What I following this think about the semi finals – and the upcoming final? Although the second semi final had a very high level, I was even more impressed by both teams in the first. Following this my guess is that Sweden will win gold and Russia the bronze, but this might well be wrong. Anyway I look much forward to both the final and the bronze final, as these are four world class teams with somewhat different style and personalities.
Now first we can look forward to two exciting semi finals on Friday, when Sweden will play against Italy and Scotland against Norway.