• Kyodo

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Japan defeated Germany 7-4 to pick up its third win on the third day of the Men’s World Curling Championships but lost 8-5 to Sweden on Monday.

In the 12-team round-robin competition, world No. 9 Japan, with three wins against two losses, sits in a four-way tie for fourth place with China, Italy and Norway. Canada remains on top of the standings unbeaten in five games, followed by Switzerland and Sweden at 4-1.

SC Karuizawa, looking to win Japan a berth in the men’s Olympic tournament for the first time since the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, scored three points in the ninth end to break a 4-4 tie with 12th-ranked Germany.

Earlier, Japan scored in the fifth to pull even 3-3 with Sweden, but could not catch the world No. 2 team as Sweden claimed two points in the next end and tacked on a couple more while Karuizawa could manage only one point each in the seventh and ninth.

Despite defeat, Japan made the powerhouse work for its win, taking the game to the final 10th end.

“We were able to play the game the way we wanted to and put pressure on our opponents,” Karuizawa skip Yusuke Morozumi said. “We lost but there’s no reason for us to be negative about this.”

Japan, which succumbed to fourth-ranked Scotland on Sunday, lost to a higher-ranked side two days in a row but the skip’s younger brother, Kosuke, said, “Our shots are getting better and better and we’re reading the ice well. We’re not losing with a bad feeling.”

The top four teams advance to the playoffs. Seven of the 10 places at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February will be decided based on points awarded from the final team placing at the ongoing and last year’s worlds.

South Korea, which has an automatic berth as host of the 2018 Games, is not taking part in this year’s event.

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