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Canada and Team GB to fight it out for Curling gold

20 February 2014

CURLING: Canada and Great Britain will play for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games men's curling title after victories in their semifinal games on day 10 of competition at the Ice Cube Curling Centre on Wednesday.

When they play the gold medal game on Friday at 17:30, Canada can continue its dominance of the sport at the Olympic Winter Games and collect its NOC's third consecutive men's gold, while Great Britain enters the clash as the first men's team to get to the gold medal final after winning a tiebreaker to get into the medal round.

Canada guaranteed it maintained the NOC's record of making the men's final at each Olympic Winter Games since curling returned to the Games at Nagano 1998, beating China 10-6 in a high-scoring game that equalled the record for total of points in a semifinal.

China skip LIU Rui nearly gave away a shot on a tight line in the fourth end, missing a draw for two that would have levelled the game, but allowed Canada a slight advantage at 3-2. After keeping Canada to a single in the fifth LIU was finally able to level the score at 5-5 in the sixth end with a takeout for two. But then the game turned in the seventh.

Brad JACOBS (CAN) produced a double takeout with his first shot that left three of Canada's stones in line in the house and all counting. With only his last stone to play, LIU called a timeout to consult China's coach Marcel ROCQUE (CAN), but LIU's following attempted double only removed one stone and allowed JACOBS to draw for a score of three and a decisive 7-4 lead.

After the women's team also made the final earlier in the day, Canada now has a chance to become the first NOC to sweep men's and women's curling gold.

In the other semifinal, Great Britain earned the chance to become its NOC's first men's champion since the sport's return at Nagano, thanks to a 6-5 victory against 2013 world champion Sweden.

Niklas EDIN (SWE) earned two points in the ninth end with a double takeout for a 5-4 advantage going into the last, but left Great Britain the hammer. A mistake with third Greg DRUMMOND's (GBR) first-stone hit and roll shot seemed to have removed Great Britain's chance of a winning two score, but skip David MURDOCH (GBR) drew his first stone behind a guard to force EDIN into a runback takeout with his last shot. EDIN missed his target, allowing MURDOCH to draw a second shot and move into the final.

The only other team to make an Olympic Winter Games gold medal game after winning a tiebreaker was the Great Britain women's team of Rhona MARTIN at Salt Lake 2002. MURDOCH will hope it is a lucky omen as MARTIN's team went on to take gold.

Sweden now faces China in the bronze medal game on Friday at 12:30.

In the day's earlier session, Sweden and Canada earned the right to play for the women's curling title after victories in their semifinals againstSwitzerland and Great Britain respectively.

Sweden took advantage of a heavy Mirjam OTT (SUI) last-stone draw to steal a point in the final end to win 7-5, while in the other semifinal Jennifer JONES' Canada team remained unbeaten in the competition with a 6-4 victory over Great Britain and can now match the achievement of Kevin MARTIN's (CAN) men's team from Vancouver 2010, the only team to take Olympic gold with a perfect winning record.

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