Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Worlds Qualifying Day 4

With just two more draws to play, eight of the nine teams at the 2011 Worlds Qualifying Tournament in Lohja, Finland, are still in with a chance of making the playoff. The one certainty: Italy with just one loss after 7 Draws, is guaranteed a berth.

Italy's only defeat was to Japan in the morning draw. Japan, Vancouver Paralympians, lost their opening 3 games but their narrow win over table-toppers Italy was their second.

Down 5-2 after 3 ends they stole the next 3 points to inch ahead, but gave up a single in the 8th to see the score tied at 6. They then took 2 with hammer in the first extra end of the event to post an 8-6 win.

Kaneko Emi from the Japanese Curling Association said: “The team was feeling down after losing our first three games but all the other teams and our own technical staff have been very supportive. After two wins the team is feeling much more positive and happy now and hopefully we can continue that in our final games. We have a new team this year with two new players, both of whom bring a lot of positive energy to the group.”

Unfortunately for the Japanese they were unable to maintain momentum, giving up an 8th end 2 to the Czechs in a 5-4 loss this afternoon.

Czech Republic
Radek Musilek, Stepan Benes, Martin Tluk, Michaela Charvatova, Jana Brincilova

[Photo: Katja Kiiskinen/World Curling Federation]
Four losses may still qualify for the playoffs as tomorrow's draws pit Germany and Switzerland, and the Czechs and Slovakia, each with 3 losses, against each other.

The host Finns, coming off a run of 3 consecutive victories, fell to Slovakia in the morning draw, tying the game at 6 with a 2 in the 8th, but unable to prevent Slovakia taking the winning point in the extra. Another narrow loss, 6-5 to Italy this afternoon drops Finland down the table with 4 losses, needing help to get to the playoffs.

Slovakia and Latvia, the least experienced of the competing sides, played a very tight game in the afternoon draw. Latvia went ahead on two double steals, but surrendered the last 4 points to lose 6-5, and drop out of contention. Slovakia moved to 3-3 and hold their fate in their own hands.

Team Slovakia
Radoslav Duriš, Branislav Jakubec, Dušan Pitoňák, Monika Kunkelová
[Photo: Katja Kiiskinen/World Curling Federation]
Germany, who had started so brightly, lost their only game today 9-4 to the Danes who then went on to edge the Swiss 6-5 this afternoon. The Danes leapfrogged Germany and Switzerland in the table and with the four teams below them playing each other tomorrow, need just one win tomorrow to clinch a playoff spot; against either Italy or Japan.

Standings after Draw 7

Italy       5 - 1
Denmark     4 - 2
Czech Rep . 3 - 3
Slovakia    3 - 3
Germany     3 - 3
Switzerland 3 - 3
Finland     3 - 4
Japan       2 - 4
Latvia      2 - 5

Click HERE for full statistics, line scores and team line-ups.2 The event also has a Facebook page.

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