by Gary Anderson
April 5, 2014 (ISN) – Sweden will face Scandinavian rivals Norway in the final of the Men’s Curling World Championships tomorrow after both sides saw off the challenge of reigning Olympic champions Canada in Beijing.
The Norwegians secured a place in their first World Championship decider since 2010 when they defeated the Canadians 3-2 in the Page one versus two play-off game at the Capital Gymnasium earlier.
In what was a cagey affair, both sides exchanged points and were level at 1-1 after four ends before the Canadians tied the match again after nine ends to leave it 2-2.
In the tenth end however, Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud made the decisive move hitting back a Canadian stone lying in the house and keeping his own in position to score one point and win the match 3-2.
That left Canada facing the Swedes who are reigning European champions and also took bronze at Sochi 2014, in the sole semi-final later in the afternoon.
Skip Kevin Koe got the North Americans off to a perfect start by tapping out two Swedish stones in the first end to grab a 2-0 lead.
His opposite number Oskar Eriksson hit back straight however, scoring four points with his last stone in the very next end to wipe out the promising Canadian start.
The next few ends saw the teams exchange points to leave the score at 5-4 to Sweden after the fifth.
That man Eriksson stepped up to the plate again for his side in the sixth end, claiming three crucial points by drawing his last stone into the house for an 8-4 lead.
However, the Canadians were not done just yet and clawed back three points in the next two ends leaving the score at 8-7, but once again Eriksson demonstrated his skill under pressure by playing two beautifully judged draw-shots to give his side a decisive 10-7 lead.
Even though Sweden ran out of stones in the tenth end, Canada only managed to score one more point handing the win to Eriksson and his men 10-8.
“It feels so good – it’s such an awesome feeling, I can’t describe it,” said star-of-the-show Eriksson afterwards, who is looking forward to locking horns with neighbours Norway in tomorrow’s final.
“We just need to play like we played today and the last five or six games.
“I think we’ve done really, really well so far to get to the final in our first World Championship.
“If we can defend the title it would mean everything to us.”
A disappointed Koe rued some missed chances during the match but recognised his team need to regroup for tomorrow’s bronze medal meeting with Switzerland.
“It was a bad day,” he said.
“We played pretty decent for the most part, but big misses at the wrong time will obviously kill you in the big games.
“We’ll try our hardest to win [the bronze medal match].
“It’ll be hard, we’re disappointed – we came here thinking we’d be in that gold-medal game.
“But we’ll be here in the morning and we’ll be trying to win a medal.”
The bronze medal match in Beijing gets underway at 10am local time and will be followed by the gold medal decider at 3pm.