Pyeongchang 2018: GB’s Women Curlers bid to eliminate Canada and reach semi-finals

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Great Britain’s Women’s Curling Team has the opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals and knock out defending Olympic champions Canada by winning their final Round Robin game at Pyeongchang 2018. The eagerly-awaited encounter will begin shortly after midnight UK time.

Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Lauren Gray earned this unique chance by beating Japan 8-6 in a crucial encounter on Tuesday. It was their third win in succession, meaning they have now won five of their eight matches so far, and it moved them up to equal-third (with Japan) in the table.

‘We knew we had to win that one,’ Vice-Skipper Sloan told BBC Sport. ‘We’re in a good position, maybe not the best, but we’re going in the right direction.’

It is clear from Sloan’s interview that she would like to be top of the table having already qualified for Friday’s semi-finals. But is there any better way to seal qualification than by ending the Olympic challenge of the defending champions?

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Canada are comfortably No.1 in the World Rankings, but their poor form at Pyeongchang 2018 has left them in serious danger of failing to reach the Olympic semi-final in a sport they traditionally dominate. BBC Sport reports, ‘According to renowned Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, it is estimated that 94% of the world’s curlers live in Canada.’

If Skipper Rachel Homan and her rink do not qualify, they will rue their performances in their opening three games which saw them narrowly lose 8-6 to South Africa, 7-6 to Sweden and 9-8 to bottom-of-the-table Denmark. Even though Canada won their next three games, against USA, Switzerland and Japan, a 7-5 loss to China leaves them seventh in the table with two games to play.

And the Sochi 2014 champions’ final game against the Olympic Athletes from Russia will be irrelevant if they lose to Great Britain in their first match on Wednesday.

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Speaking to BBC Sport after victory over Japan, British Skipper Muirhead sounded determined to ensure they beat Canada. She said, ‘We give our opposition a lot of respect. It’s important we go up a gear (against Canada).’

Muirhead continued, ‘I feel like we have gone up a step each match. That was two back-to-back strong victories (against World No.6 Japan and World No.2 Switzerland).’

If Great Britain’s Women’s Curling Team can do exactly what their skipper wants and raise their level against Canada, they could be celebrating a famous win on Wednesday morning and a great chance to go for the Olympic gold they crave at Pyeongchang 2018.

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