Scotland’s 7-1 win over Switzerland in Wednesday morning’s seventh session of men’s round-robin play at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 in Lillehammer, Norway, made them the first team to qualify for the weekend play-offs. But behind them, seven teams still have a realistic chance of joining them in the final four.

The seventh victory for the Scots means that they remain unbeaten at the top of the table. By the fifth end, the Scots had built a 3-1 lead. In the fifth end their skip Bruce Mouat drew his last stone into the house to score three points and increase his team’s lead to 6-1. A steal of one point in the seventh moved the Scots to 7-1 and Switzerland conceded.

Defending champions Sweden faced Italy in this session and in the second end, Italy skip Joel Retornaz opened the scoring with a hit-and-stay for two points. Sweden never recovered from this and eventually Italy won by 7-2. This result puts Italy into joint third place, while Sweden remain second overall, despite this second loss of the week.

Czech Republic played Finland in this session in a high-scoring game. In the fourth end, Finnish skip Kalle Kiiskinen drew his final shot into the house to score three points and take a 5-3 lead.  The Czechs responded in the fifth end when their skip Lukas Klima played a nose-hit for two to level the score at 5-5 at the break. In the eighth end, Finland gave up a steal of two points and this turning point helped the Czechs to a 10-8 win that puts them in joint third place on the table.

After the game, Czech skip Klima said, “This was a high-scoring game. In the first three-quarters of the game the team with hammer was putting the pressure on. Once we had a solid eighth end, we were able to take charge of the game. Now we’re qualified for the Worlds, which is great, and we still have a chance to make it to the play-offs, which would be awesome! Right now, life’s good!”

Hosts Norway faced Netherlands in this session. In the second end, Norway’s skip Steffen Walstad played a draw into the house to score two points and open the scoring. After this, Norway dominated the game and went on to win by 5-2. This was the fourth victory of the week so far for the Norwegians that puts them into joint third place on the table, alongside Italy and Czech Republic.

Afterwards, Norway skip Steffen Walstad said, “We just need to keep winning now to have any chance of the play-offs, so that was a good one. We’ve had some really good games and some really bad ones too, so hopefully we can pull out the good ones now, at the end of the week.”

Germany were up against Denmark and, in the third end, with the teams tied at 2-2, Denmark’s skip Mikkel Krause played a well-judged angle tap-up of one of his own stones to score one and take a 3-2 lead.  In the next end, Germany’s skip Sixten Totzek tapped back one of his stones into position to score two and give his team the lead – by 4-3 – for the first time in the game.  After this, Germany scored a further two points in the ninth end to seal an 8-6 win. Along with Switzerland, Denmark and Germany now sit on three wins, still within reaching distance of a place in the play-offs.

Speaking later, Germany skip Sixten Totzek said, “We were prepared for this game. We knew that we had to win it – most of the time we win pressure game and this time we had a great performance.  The team was on it – mentally and physically, so I’m really happy. We have three wins now…I think we need one more!”

Germany skip Sixten Totzek © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Watch all the broadcast games from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 online, exclusively on The Curling Channel.

Men’s session seven results: Norway 5-2 Netherlands; Sweden 2-7 Italy; Denmark 6-8 Germany; Scotland 7-1 Switzerland; Finland 8-10 Czech Republic.

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