For the first time in twenty years, the Danish women's team (Photo: WCF) will compete for gold at the European Curling Championships against powerhouse Switzerland.
By: Cameron Sallaj
The semifinal games of the 2022 Le Gruyere AOP European Curling Championships got underway Thursday at the Ostersund Arena in Sweden. The first round of the playoff bracket saw top seeds Denmark face fourth seeds Scotland in one game while second and third seeds Italy and Switzerland battled in the other.
The first game got underway at noon between Italy and Switzerland. The Italian team, skipped by Stefania Constantini, were looking to win the nation's first European championship title whereas reigning world champions, Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland, were looking for their countries seventh title and first since 2014. Both teams finished the round robin stage with a 6-3 record, but with the Italians winning the head-to-head meeting between the two rinks, they opened with the hammer.
It was a strong start for Italy as they opened with two points in the first end. This was quickly matched by the Swiss, however, leveling the score at two all after two ends.
The Italian rink got one back in the third to go in front by one, but their lead was temporary as after a blank in four, Switzerland took another deuce in the fifth end to jump ahead 4-3 halfway through the match.
The second half of the game saw experience pay off for the Swiss Tirinzoni rink, beginning by forcing the Italian team to just one in the sixth end. They then took their third deuce of the game to go ahead by two before Italy cut into their lead once again with their third single, making the score 6-5.
In the ninth, Swiss fourth stone thrower Alina Patz secured the victory for her team with a takeout shot to score three points to make the score 9-5. The reigning world champions then ran their Italian counterparts out of rocks in the tenth end to book their spot in the gold medal game.
Later in the day, the second semifinal game between Scotland's Rebecca Morrison and Denmark's Madeleine Dupont got underway. It was a battle between youth and experience, with the latter prevailing in this semifinal game.
As the top seeds, Denmark started the game with the hammer and took one in the first end. Scotland then responded with one of their own to tie things up at one apiece.
The Danish side seized control in the third end, taking three points to jump out in front. They then swiped a steal of two in the fourth and three more in the fifth end to give themselves a comfortable 9-1 lead, a deficit too big for the Scotts to mount.
Morrison got one point back for the Scottish team in the sixth end, but the game was over with two more by Denmark in the seventh end. A single point by Scotland in the eighth end concluded the match with the Danish side winning 11-3.
Saturday in Ostersund will see Denmark battle Switzerland for the women's European gold medal. It is the first time since 2002 that the Danish side has been in the final, while Switzerland is looking for the countries first title since 2014. The game will get underway Saturday morning at 9:00 AM local time (3:00 AM Eastern Time).
The bronze medal game will see Scotland and Italy meet at 8:00 AM Eastern Time Friday morning with both rinks trying to win a European medal.
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