Russian curlers one win away from European playoffs

Both luck and skills have boosted the fortunes of the Russian women's curling team at their home European championships, moving to within a game of the playoffs thanks to a 7-4 win over rock-bottom Norway.

After four wins and four defeats, Russia sat fifth heading into Wednesday. In order to finish in the top quarter and so qualify for the play-offs, the home side not only had to beat Norway, but also hope Denmark were too good for fourth-placed Germany.

Despite being last in the table, Norway kept the game tight until the eighth of ten ends. That is when the 2006 European champions came from behind to secure a one-point lead – eventually winning with a 7-4 scoreline.

“As everything didn't depend on our result, we tried to follow the score in Germany’s match against Denmark,” Russia’s Lyudmila Privivkova told RT. “We shouldn't have done that really, as we had to concentrate on our game, but we did keep an eye on it. I thought the Germans would manage to take the game into an extra end – but they failed. Anyway, the result made us happy.”

Second-placed Denmark did beat Germany to set up a clash with Russia later on Thursday, with the winner claiming the final play-off berth.

“We've already met Germany, and we beat them,” Russia’s Ekaterina Galkina stressed. “So they will be wary of us. However, their team is very experienced, and we have to focus on the match and produce our best to win the tie-breaker.”

Moscow is currently hosting the first-ever European curling championships in the sport’s history in the country.

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