GB men’s curlers lose final to Sweden

Great Britain and Sweden curlers shake hands after the Olympic final
Bruce Mouat’s rink were facing the Swedes for a third consecutive major championship final
Hosts: Beijing, China dates: 4-20 February
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Great Britain’s men’s curlers had to settle for Olympic silver as Sweden triumphed 5-4 in a nerve-shredding final to claim gold.

Bruce Mouat’s team took a compelling match to an extra end, but Sweden were able to use their last-stone advantage to score one.

Mouat’s final shot to try and force a steal did not come off and left Swedish skip Niklas Edin celebrating victory.

It means Britain’s 98-year wait for a men’s curling gold medal continues.

However, it is Team GB’s first medal of the Games and the women’s side have the chance to win gold when they face Japan at 01:05 GMT on Sunday.

“It’s still pretty raw,” Mouat told BBC Sport. “That’s going to be the case for quite a while.

“I’m trying to think how great our week was and [feel] proud how we went about it.

“We topped the table and had a really good semi-final performance so I’m trying to think about the other things apart from that game.

“I do feel proud of myself and my guys. I’m sure down the line I will feel proud of this medal but right now I’m just trying to soak it in.”

Swedish skip Edin had billed this as the “clash of the titans” in men’s curling as the two sides met in their third consecutive major championship final.

Sweden had claimed the 2021 world title before Bruce Mouat’s Scotland team took revenge in the European final in December, and the two sides could barely be separated once again in a match of very high quality.

Britain went behind early on when Sweden took two in the second end and then added a steal of one in the third for a 3-1 lead.

At that stage it looked ominous for Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan, but after clinging to one with the hammer in the next by millimetres, they built their way back into the game.

Trailing 4-3 in the ninth end, they needed a score of two or more to unsettle Sweden, who were set for last-stone advantage in the final end.

But when Edin shut off the chance of two with a magnificent shot, Mouat chose to blank and take the hammer into the last.

And although the British skip rolled in for one to force the extra end, the odds were stacked against them with Sweden having the buffer of the last stone in the decider.

In the end, after tense timeouts from both teams, Mouat was left with a difficult hit and roll shot to try to steal one and the match, but it fell short.

Instead Swedish skip Edin – considered one of the best players of all time – now has the gold medal that eluded him when taking silver and bronze at the past two Olympics.

‘This will sting for a while’ – reaction

Lead Hammy McMillan: “It’s not how we wanted to end it. We’ll all look back on this and we will be proud, but right now it kind of sucks. We probably weren’t our best at the start but we fought back hard.”

Second Bobby Lammie: “I’m gutted for the boys. We fought back well but couldn’t get over the line. Looking back it will be a strong week. But right now it hurts.”

Third Grant Hardie: “Losing the final is going to sting for a while. Losing any final does but this one is going to take a little bit longer. You need to give those [Sweden] guys a lot of credit especially under the pressure of having not won that gold yet – they played amazing.”

‘They’ve got years ahead of them’ – analysis

Olympic silver medalist Michael Goodfellow on BBC TV

Britain came up against Team Sweden who were top of their game. I’m not sure I’ve seen Niklas ever play so well. Bruce and the guys applied themselves really well but a few mistakes early on gave Sweden the advantage.

They fought back though and the momentum changed. But it is really difficult going into the extra end without the last stone.

Former curling world champion Jackie Lockhart on BBC TV:

They’ve got years ahead of them. I know it seems a long long way ahead but every year just passes and they’re going to get stronger and stronger so they have to think about that.

Put the disappointment away – they gave it their all and I applaud them; they are a great team. But a well deserved gold for Niklas Edin.

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