World Men's Curling Championship 2012 - 3v4 Play-off

Sebastian Kraupp skipped his Swedish team to victory this morning Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Despite an injury-enforced line-up change that has seen regular skip Niklas Edin sidelined and regular third player Sebastian Kraupp promoted to skip, Sweden qualified for Saturday evening’s semi-final game in the World Men’s Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland, beating Norway by 8-6 in their Page Play-off game.

This game turned on steals in two successive ends. In the third end, Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud was light with his final draw into the house to let Sweden score an unexpected two points, and in the next end, he was too strong with his final effort, giving Sweden another unexpected two points for a 5-1 lead that was to prove too much for the Norwegians to peg back.

Ulsrud finally got his weight right in the fifth end but could only score one point with a good draw. In the seventh end, it was Swedish skip Sebastian Kraupp’s turn to draw nicely, this time for a further two points to keep the pressure on Norway. Despite being down, Ulsrud battled all the way, closing the gap with a draw for two points in the eighth end, but it was all too little, too late as Kraupp played a hit and roll for another single point in the ninth end, on his way to victory.

After the game, Swedish skip Kraupp said: “We had a really solid game and Thomas struggled a little bit in the beginning of the game. The break came in the third and fourth ends when we stole two. We played really well and kept it simple.”

Looking forward to the semi-final, he said: “We will now go away and focus and whoever it will be - Scotland or Canada – I think we will have a good chance if we play like this. I think we can still improve our game.”

Thinking about the line-up changes through the week he added: “The team is feeling good now, but it has been like a roller-coaster all week, mentally and how we have performed. But we’re feeling pretty good now. I’m more confident now as skip than at the beginning of the week.”

Meanwhile a subdued Thomas Ulsrud said: “We had a terrible start, I struggled with draw-weight. I guess I didn’t get the feel right. That was two easy draws normally I’d make them nine out of ten times, but not today. You can’t come back from that against a team like Sweden, they’re a good hitting team. As soon as the fourth end was over, we were in trouble.”

Reflecting more generally, he added: “We seem to struggle to get all the way to a final. I’m glad I’ve got the rest of today to get rid of that. Right now, I’m a bit disappointed – no chance for the gold anymore, but hopefully after a while, I’ll go hard for bronze.”

The Swedes now await the outcome of the other Page Play-off game to discover who they will play in the semi-final – either Canada or Scotland.

3v4 Page Play-off: Sweden 8, Norway 6

Standings after 3v4 Page Play-off
1. Canada 10-1 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
2. Scotland 8-3 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
3. Sweden 9-4 (qualified for semi-final)
4. Norway 8-4 (to play for Bronze medal game)
5. New Zealand 7-5
6. China 6-5
7. Denmark 6-5
8. USA 4-7
9. Switzerland 3-8
10. France 3-8
11. Germany 2-9
12. Czech Republic 2-9

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