Sweden’s Niklas Edin showed once again that he leads the finest curling rink in the world with a masterful 7-2 victory over Kevin Koe and Canada in Sunday’s final of the men’s World Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Canada.
The Swedes were the best throughout the tournament, compiling an impressive 11-1 record in round-robin play, ahead of 9-3 marks for Canada, Switzerland and Japan. In the playoffs, Edin swept aside Yuta Matsumura’s Japan squad, 8-2 while Koe’s Canadians reached the final with a tight, 6-5 win over Peter de Cruz’s Swiss rink.
The U.S. squad, skipped by John Shuster, made the playoffs, but were eliminated in the qualification round by Japan, 6-5.
After de Cruz and the Swiss won the bronze-medal match by 8-4, Edin and Koe lined up as a clash of the titans. Koe skipped the 2010 and 2016 World Champions, while Edin had world titles of his won from 2013, 2015 and 2018.
The final started slowly. Koe posted a point in the third end and Sweden matched in the fourth. Canada scored in the fifth; the Swedes matched in the sixth, now 2-2.
Neither side scored in the seventh end, but Edin broke the game open in the eighth end, taking out two stones on the next-to-last shot and Koe unable to move either of Sweden’s stones away from the house, leaving the Swedes with a 4-2 lead.
In an almost identical situation in the ninth end, Koe failed to remove any of three Swedish stones and the triple gave the match to Edin, 7-2, for his fourth title as a skip.
It’s a remarkable turn in favor of Edin, who has now won four titles in the last seven years and three of the last five. At just 33, he’s going to be around for a while. Summaries:
WCF Men’s World Championships
Lethbridge (CAN) ~ 30 March-7 April 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings: 1. Sweden (Niklas Edin); 2. Canada (Kevin Koe); 3. Switzerland (Peter de Cruz); 4. Japan (Yuta Matsumura); 5. United States (John Shuster); 6. Scotland (Bruce Mouat). Non-playoff teams: 7. Italy (Joel Retornaz); 8. Germany (Marc Muskatewitz); 9. Russia (Sergey Glukhov); 10. Netherlands (Jaap van Dorp); 11. China (Qiang Zou); 12. Korea (Soo-Hyuk Kim). Playoffs/Qualification: Japan 7, United States 6; Canada 6, Scotland 5. Semis: Sweden 8, Japan 2; Canada 6, Switzerland 5. Third: Switzerland 8, Japan 4. Final: Sweden 7, Canada 2.