Japan squad knocked out of Olympic curling competition

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

Japan’s hopes of reaching the women’s curling semifinals ended Tuesday after a loss to Sweden, coupled with a win by Switzerland, at the Vancouver Olympics.

Japan fell to defending champion Sweden 10-6 and dropped its win-loss record to 3-5 in the round-robin stage at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

“That was our goal, to come here and be in the playoffs,” Sweden skip Anette Norberg said. “We’re there now. I’m happy with that.”

Team Aomori scored three points in the sixth end to draw within 6-5, but Sweden pulled away with twos in the seventh and ninth ends.

“We didn’t make enough shots in the tournament, compared to other teams,” said Japanese skip Moe Meguro. “There were also strategic mistakes. We definitely need more experience and skill.”

Mari Motohashi, the other remaining member from the Turin Olympics, also cited lack of experience and said, “I’ve found how hard it is to win each game at an Olympics.”

Switzerland defeated Germany by a score of 4-2 for its fifth win.

Sweden downed the Germans 8-7 in the evening, earning the No. 2 seed and setting up a semifinal match against reigning world champion China.

The Chinese beat the Swedes at the 2009 worlds.

Canada is also among the semifinalists.

Japan lost to Denmark 7-5 in a later game and finished eighth in 10-team round-robin play with a 3-6 record. Canada had the best record at 8-1.

On the men’s side, Norway rolled to a 9-5 victory over reigning world champion Britain.

Norway’s King Harald V received his colorful curling slacks and cheered on his countrymen as they advanced to the semifinals where they’ll meet Switzerland.

Afterward, the king met briefly with the Norwegians — and received his pair of their funky, diamond-printed slacks now famous across the globe.

“He was diplomatic. He said, ‘Yeah, very nice.’ I said, ‘Hey, try them on, see if it’s the right size.’ He’s like, ‘Maybe later,’ ” skip Thomas Ulsrud said, laughing. “He was actually a real cool guy. I was impressed how much he knew about curling as well.”

The king, who declined interview requests, isn’t the only one who likes the slacks. A Facebook page called “The Norwegian Olympic Curling Team’s Pants” had more than 400,000 fans as of Tuesday night.

Unbeaten Canada will play in the other semifinal against an opponent yet to be determined. Britain’s loss, coupled with Sweden’s 7-6 win over Denmark, left the Brits and Swedes tied for fourth place in group play. The teams will meet in a tiebreaker on Wednesday.

“We don’t do things the easy way, do we?” Britain’s skip David Murdoch said.

The Canadians completed their perfect run through the round-robin schedule with a 10-3 win over China in seven ends and afterward raised their brooms to acknowledge the fans.

“That was a good one to finish on,” Canadian third John Morris said. “It’s nice not to have a blemish.”