GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - Switzerland beat Canada 7-5 to take men’s curling bronze Friday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, sending the pre-tournament favorite home without a medal for the first time since the sport returned to the games in 1998.
Canada’s hopes of a fourth straight gold medal were dashed the previous day in a heartbreaking 5-3 semifinal loss to the United States, and the accuracy problems that cost them that game were again on display against the Swiss at Gangneung Curling Centre.
“We knew that we had a good enough game to win a medal here, but that it was going to be very, very difficult when we knew that we were going to play Canada for the bronze medal,” Swiss skip Peter de Cruz said.
“We wanted to make them throw some difficult shots, some shots to win the game, some shots to stay in the game and I think we did that.”
“(Canadian skip Kevin Koe) made a few, but he also missed a few so I think that the fact that we usually play very aggressive, that’s our style of play and that’s the way to play against these guys.”
After a blank first end, Switzerland won the next two to build a 2-0 lead. Canada evened the slate in the fourth, however, after Koe secured two points with a superb raise takeout on the final rock.
Switzerland immediately regained control of the match when it took two points from the fifth and forced Canada to chase another multipoint end.
De Cruz and teammates took another two points in the seventh, giving them a commanding 6-3 lead from which Canada was unable to recover.
Koe said he felt the team had done all the right things, despite the difficult result.
“I don’t think we’d do a lot (different). We felt good. There’s not much to do. You just gotta make shots to win,” said Koe.
“It’s difficult against any good team to come back, but we had our chances. We had too many misses in the last couple of days and it’s tough to win without your best game.”
The loss caps off a disappointing Olympics for perennial curling powerhouse Canada, whose highly touted women’s team failed to make the semifinals after finishing sixth in the round robin.