SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - China won a 6-5 thriller over Britain to clinch a place in the Olympic men’s curling semifinals on Monday but defeat for Norway means the Britons will get another chance to play for a medal.
The final men’s session of the round-robin began with world champions Sweden and Olympic champions Canada having already secured spots in the final four leaving China, Britain and Norway to scrap for the two remaining berths.
The match of the day pitted China against Britain with a possible spot in the semifinal on the line. With so much at stake the contest turned into the nail-biter you would expect, Liu Rui clinching the victory with his final rock.
“Our goal was to get to the playoffs and I am really proud of the guys,” said China’s Canadian coach Marcel Rocque, a three-time former-world champion.
“I am happy for them to have this kick at the can for a medal, you come into this thing thinking you’ve done everything to prepare and they have preformed exceptionally well.”
While Britain was falling to China, over on another sheet at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, Norway, silver medalists at the Vancouver Olympics, suffered a 5-3 loss to Denmark leaving the last semifinal berth to be decided in a tiebreak.
Britain and the Norway will now faceoff in the sudden death contest on Tuesday that will complete the semi-final line up.
”The Chinese guy (Liu) was on fire there, it’s tough when you go up against a skip that is making everything,“ said Britain’s David Murdoch. ”But we’re still in it.
”Denmark has done us a favor there, it’s almost like the round-robin has been extended another game and so we get another chance to get it over the line.
“We’re not going to be too down beat about things. We’re still in this.”
Norway were in a tight battle with Denmark right until the Danes scored two in the ninth end to take the win.
”We’ve got a good record against those guys (Norway),“ said Murdoch. ”We quite enjoy playing those guys. We play them so much we’re use to their style of game.
“We know what we’re going to get. We know what to exploit but then they know our game very well as well.”
The women’s semifinal spots will be determined later on Monday.
Editing by Keith Weir