11. 12. 2008 ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden - by George Karrys
Norway's Thomas Ulsrud and Switzerland's Mirjam Ott have both qualified for their respective finals at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2008 at Swedbank Arena.
In the first playoff round Thursday night, Ulsrud made a late charge to subdue Germany's Andy Kapp 9-7 and Ott defeated Sweden's hometown heroine Anette Norberg by an 8-4 count.
It was the second time in as many days in which Ott defeated the Swedes, reversing nearly five years of losses ranging from Tour events to the 2006 Olympic final.
Ulsrud, who finished runner-up at last year's Euros in Fuessen, Germany, will make his second straight appearance in the European final.
"Our goal was to win gold, after silver last year," said Ulsrud. "But that's one thing to say it and another thing to do it.
"They (Germany) were all over us the first half of the game. And as Chris (second Christoffer Svae) said, 'just ride it out' and we did. We started getting some breaks and things turned for us in the second half."
Meanwhile, in the three-versus-four playoff games to decide the semifinalists, Scotland's men battled Switzerland and Denmark's women took on Germany.
Denmark's Angelina Jensen hung on to defeat German veteran Andrea Schoepp 8-7 in an extra-end and will advance to Friday's semifinal against Norberg, at 18:00 GMT on SVT 24 Sweden, Eurosport TV in High-Definition and also online at the Eurosport Player. Schoepp finishes in fourth place.
Scotland's David Murdoch, the defending men's champion, was up 4-1 when he stole two in the seventh end against Switzerland's Stefan Karnusian, who conceded the match after taking a single point in the eighth for a 6-3 score. The Swiss also finished in fourth place.
Murdoch has now won six games in a row, and was delighted with what he called his team's first complete game.
"That's the performance we've been looking for," said Murdoch.
"It's very similar to last year when we started rolling and won six or seven in a row.
"I'm sure Germany isn't looking forward to playing us, they're not going to be happy about it."
The Scots move into Friday's semifinal against Kapp at 13:00 GMT on SVT 24 Sweden and online via the Eurosport Player, with the winner advancing to Saturday's Championship final against Norway. The loser is awarded the Bronze medal.
The Eurosport Player is offering special "curling discounts" for selected European countries. Visit the World Curling Federation website (at www.worldcurling.org) and the event website (at www.ecc2008.se) for the list of countries and the special access code.
In addition, the full selection of 24 Eurosport Player curling games from ECC 08 will remain available for archived viewing for one week following the event, ending December 20.
Live scoring can be viewed at www.cuponline.nu
Game feeds and highlight packages are also available for broadcasters from World Curling Television (WCTV).