It was a Scotland-free day on Friday, but there was still plenty of action – with semi final and medal games, including England women’s shot at bronze that saw them fall just short.
In the A-Division men’s semi finals, there was a clash between last season’s World Championship finalists, Norway and Sweden.
Norway had won nine and lost none of their round robin games, whereas Sweden lost four and needed a tiebreaker win over Scotland to make the semis, but it was Niklas Edin’s Swedes who came out on top, just as they had to win the Worlds title.
Norway, skipped by Thomas Ulsrud, scored two in end two but Sweden then scored three and took two steals of one to lead 5-2 after five ends.
Ulsrud’s rink came back with a three in end seven and two in end 10 to force an extra end, but Edin made the nose hit for one and an 8-7 win.
In the other semi, Peter De Cruz’s Switzerland topped the Finnish rink of Aku Kauste. scoring threes in ends three, six and eight for a 10-4 victory.
In the bronze medal games, Lene Nielsen’s Denmark suffered their fifth defeat in a row as Finland, skipped by Oona Kauste, claimed third spot on the podium – a historic first medal for Finnish women’s curlers.
That was in large part down to a four in end five, and although Denmark scored three in end nine, the Finns held on to win 10-8.
Norway, meanwhile, won men’s bronze, shaking off the disappointment of their semi-final exit to steal two in end two and add another two in end four on their way to a smooth 7-4 win over Finland.
In the B-Division, survival was at stake for James Pougher’s Wales men, who knew that a win over Croatia would allow them to stay in the B-Division for the 2016 championships in Braehead.
They got off to a flier, scoring four in end one, before adding a two in end five and three in end eight to win the match 10-4 and kill off relegation fears.
That was followed by England women, skipped by Anna Fowler, taking on Latvia for B-Division women’s bronze after their agonising loss to Italy on Thursday night.
Despite taking a 5-3 lead into the fifth end break, England gave up steals in ends seven, eight and nine – a two in end 10 was not enough as they lost 8-7 and had to settle for fourth place.
Skip Fowler said: “Over the tournament, I think we played very well – we played a lot better towards the end of the week.
“Today, it just took us a long time to figure out the ice; we just weren’t really good enough today to be honest.
“A couple of times we could’ve had big ends and it just didn’t go our way.”
On whether the team had achieved its objectives, she added: “No, I would say our real ambition was to make promotion, so our loss yesterday was the one we were so, so gutted about.
“It was such a close game and there wasn’t much more we could’ve done.
“We wanted to be [in the A-Division] in Braehead next year, but another year of experience and we should be there.”
Latvia men also took bronze, defeating Israel, while Denmark men beat Austria and Italy women saw off the Czech Republic for the B-Division golds, also putting them into the World Challenger matches.
Those games (which decide the last European qualifier for the World Men’s and Women’s Championships in 2016) saw both B-Division sides win their opening tie of the three-game series – Denmark men topping Italy 7-2 and Italy women beating Norway 7-4.
Tomorrow is finals day!
The men’s final, Sweden against Switzerland, is from 10.00 CET – Niklas Edin’s rink looking to retain their crown from last year.
The women’s final follows at 15.00 CET, with Eve Muirhead and Scotland looking to reclaim the title they last won in 2011, as they face Russia.
The day will also feature the second and (if needed) third World Challenger games between Denmark and Italy (men) and Italy and Norway (women), plus the game to decide who joins Estonia in dropping to the men’s C-Division for 2016 – Belgium versus Croatia.
Eurosport and World Curling TV will televise both Sweden v Switzerland and Russia v Scotland.