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Germany hands Canada its first loss at Ford World Women’s

Canada suffered its first defeat at the Ford World women’s curling championship on Wednesday afternoon when German skip Andrea Schoepp traversed a guard with her last shot and executed a precise takeout for an 8-7 extra-end win.It moves Germany into playoff contention at 5-and-3 while Canada remained atop the leader board with an 8-and-1 record.

Scotland’s Eve Muirhead maintained her grip on second place with a 7-and-1 record, rallying for a 9-7 conquest of Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher.

Also remaining in the playoff hunt was Cissi Ostlund’s young Swedish team, which held off a strong rally by Denmark and won 10-9 in overtime with a perfect last-shot draw to backing in the four-foot. Sweden is 6-and-3.

“I love to play here in Canada,” said Schoepp, a veteran of 17 world championships, afterward. “It’s a great atmosphere. Canadian spectators are really great and really friendly and really fair.”

What was it like to beat Team Canada in Canada?

“I have no idea. Ask them,” she said with a chuckle.  “I never think about winning the event. I go there and hope we are doing good and we will see how it ends. But I never think about winning it. I hope to win but I never think about what the feeling would be.”

Schoepp has won the title once, back in 1988.

“I want to win and it doesn’t matter who I’m playing,” she said. “There are one, two, three teams that I really think about who I’m playing, Canada is not in that group. The rest? I just want to win.  It is not about rivalries but some teams I’m kind of having problems with. It’s nothing more than the way those teams play. It makes it more difficult to play against them and you have to be aware of that.”

Jones took a three-count in the third for a 3-1 lead but Germany quickly replied with three of its own in the fourth. Canada again took the lead with a fifth-end deuce and maintained control through the ninth end when Schoepp finagled a go-ahead deuce.

Germany then forced Canada to settle for the tying point in the 10th end. Schoepp executed a clutch runback takeout with her first of the extra. Jones attempted an in-turn bury but her rock over-curled and was left vulnerable to Schoepp’s last out-turn.

“It wasn’t our sharpest game but I thought they played well and she made a nice shot to win,” said Jones. “We’ll have to come out and win both our games tomorrow and see what happens from there. This is disappointing, but you’re going to lose a game here and there.”

Jones zeroed in on “a couple of bad misses.  I had a shot to win the game, it was a hard shot, but you don’t like to miss those. My last draw had great weight and a perfect line and it over-curled and gave her shot. That’s the way it works.   They made some nice shots to get their three, I made an uncharacteristic miss, a runback. There were a couple of uncharacteristic misses by us. But I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”

Muirhead scraped and clawed from behind all afternoon against the Swiss, who took control with three in the fifth. But by the time the 10th end arrived, the Scottish owned the hammer in a tie situation and faced a routine hit for the decision.

“That was the first tenth end in quite a few games,” said the 19-year-old Scot, “but it’s probably good for us to have that — making sure we go right to the last stone, and when the last stone has to be played, that’s the way we expect every game to go.”

Muirhead admitted she struggled with the playing surface early on.

“It was sitting straighter at weight, and swinging bigger at draw weight,” she said, “but we cottoned onto that in the second half of the game and that’s when we really bounced back.  It was really important for us, that win. I think that guarantees us a playoff.”

Sweden constructed a 7-2 lead on Denmark in four ends and led 9-5 after seven before the unpredictable Danes battled back with four points in the last three ends to force overtime.

“Denmark played really well so this win helps our confidence,” said Ostlund. “They are unpredictable. They didn’t play well the first couple of ends but then they started to play and we gave them some chances. But, in the end, we played OK.”

In the other game, defending champion China (4-4) won its third straight, 8-7 win over Norway to remain with an outside chance of playoff action.  China blew a 4-1 lead out of the gate when their opposition scored four in the fifth end, then stole the win in the 10th end when Norwegian skip Linn Githmark was heavy on a cold draw to the four-foot.

In Draw 14 action at 7:30 p.m. CT, Scotland (7-1) plays the U.S.A. (6-2), Germany plays Japan (1-7), China goes against Russia (4-4) and Denmark (3-5) takes on rookie Latvia (1-7).