Victoria, BC, Canada – Canada will play Sweden in Sunday afternoon's gold medal final of the Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2013, following their 6-3 semi-final win over Scotland on Saturday evening.
Scotland opened the semi-final with a single point in the first end and then Canada blanked the next two ends. In the fourth end, Canadian skip Brad Jacobs hit and stayed with his second stone to score two points and take the lead - at 2-1 - for the first time in the game.
In the fifth end, Scotland's David Murdoch drew inside two Canadian stones to score one point and tie the game at 2-2. In the sixth end, the Canadians took on a difficult come-around a front guard shot, and good sweeping kept their stone on line, allowing them to hit for three points and a 5-2 lead.
Scotland blanked the seventh end and, in the eighth end, Scotland's skip David Murdoch attempted a triple take-out to get back on level terms, but managed to take out one of his own stones at the back of the house instead, to give Canada a steal of one point, moving their lead to 6-2. Murdoch drew into an empty house to score one point in the ninth end to reduce the Canadian lead to 6-3, after which the Scots conceded.
Afterwards, an unbelieving Canadian skip Jacobs said, "we’re in the world final! I think we lost four of our last six games in the round robin, but we’ve managed to scrape our way into the final and I think it says a lot about our character, the way that this team has been able to park those losses and come out knowing what we’re capable of doing, and then going out and doing it. It’s just phenomenal."
He added, "it’s pretty crazy. But this is our team. We’re grinders, and we don’t like to do things the easy way, apparently. But we were taught at an early age to never give up and just play as hard as we can. That’s what we did today. I’m really proud of the guys for coming out and playing so great in front of me. Today was a perfect day".
And looking forward to the final, he said, "I’m really looking forward to playing Sweden in the final. They’re friends of ours off the ice and rivals on the ice. Hopefully it will be everything that everyone expects, a back-and-forth battle and a shootout. Hopefully both teams can provide that tomorrow."
Meanwhile a disappointed Scottish skip Murdoch said, "those guys played extremely well I have to say. They had a great game. They've got a bit of momentum and they've got the crowd behind them - they put on a good show. We had a couple of chances, but it's just disappointing because we've had a great week. All the guys are playing well and I've been throwing the rock as good as I have done for a long time."
Before the gold medal game, Scotland and Denmark will play for bronze medals and, about that, Murdoch said, "we'll just have to come out tomorrow, I don't want to leave here without a medal this week. I think we've been one of the best teams here and we're going to come out hard tomorrow.”
With the Ford World Men's Championship now nearing its climax, the official declaration of the nations qualified directly for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, will be made by the World Curling Federation (WCF) following the final on Sunday. Seven nations plus hosts, Russia, will secure a spot following the conclusion of the 2013 World Championships.
Nations not qualifying directly for the 2014 Games will be eligible to take part in a new WCF Olympic Qualifying Event to be staged from 11-15 December 2013, in Füssen, Germany.
Two nations will qualify from the event in both men’s and women’s disciplines to complete the Olympic fields of 10 teams. National Olympic Committees are required to endorse team entry for this event by the end of May 2013. On confirmation of the number of competing teams, the competition format will be made public by the WCF at the start of June 2013.