Not long ago, when Canada reached the Men’s Curling World Cup and those matches were scattered across the table, there could have been a big win for the Canadian cartoonists.
There were “must-win” games – spaces on the bingo card.
But these days are over. That was proven this week.
Canada is about to miss a chance to qualify for the event, but more importantly, it lacks a significant chance to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Games.
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Brendan Butcher and his team outside of Edmonton have been a sign of consistency for years. They were among the best teams in the world. Reaching the Briar Finals four times in a row and breaking the title this year is no easy feat.
But an international event where the weight of a maple leaf presses down is a completely different animal. Metzger and his friends swing over the edge.
With a 7-4 record and two matches remaining in the Robben Tour, Canada should beat Norway on Thursday night (9pm ET) and against Germany in the final on Friday. Robben’s top six teams qualify for the playoffs and advance to Beijing.
Watch | Russia wins first world victory over Canada:
Nothing is easy
It looks like Canada will secure a place easily. But then it happened on Wednesday.
Canada lost to the Russian Football Association for the first time in this event. They lost to Korea for the first time the day before.
In a stunning collapse Wednesday night, Canada beat Sweden 7-1 in their last three finals, beating Sweden 9-7.
The situation is now uncomfortably tense.
The rest of the world has been gaining ground in Canada for years. The rhetoric of the last decade has been that the international teams have beaten Canada. They are now on the same level as Canada and the pressure has reached different levels.
There hasn’t been much gold to say since the 2018 Olympics, when the Canadians failed to climb the podium for the first time in games history.
Although the situation is horrific, this is not the time for Canadians to panic. Metzger is known for his strong determination and calm demeanor. He showed it again in a post-match interview last night and his voice is relatively calm and optimistic.
“We really have to split up today,” Boucher told reporters. “We have already played some good endings as a team.” We got a lot of really good picks. When we go back on the ice tomorrow [Thursday] It must be a brand new game.
We will learn a lot about the character of this team in the coming days. And the past shows that they will meet at the moment.
There is no doubt that it was a wild and somewhat strange jump up to this point. Think where Switzerland, Olympic bronze medalist and arch-enemy, sits. The Swiss in five defeats before the last two days of Robin’s tour. Nobody expected that.
It’s almost incomprehensible that Canada or Switzerland will have one last chance in the Olympic qualifiers, but here we are.
Watch | Canada collapses against Sweden:
The butcher team is flexible
Team Butcher knows how to resilient after three straight defeats against Briar in order to rise from the granite ashes and win the National Championship this year. The rink will have to go deeper than before to bring together an unforgettable comeback if possible not only in the qualifiers but also in the medals match.
But if the Butcher team trips the rest of the road and loses that opportunity at the Olympics, not everything is lost for Canada.
Last Chance Qualifiers are planned for this December. Exact dates and location will be announced. Between nine and eleven teams will compete against each other and occupy either three or four places, depending on where host China finishes the rest of the way in the men’s world championships.
The Canadian Olympic curling trials are scheduled for late November in Saskatoon to see which team is most likely to represent Canada at the Games. But whoever is that team can be messy.
It’s something that Canadian soccer fans and Canadian curling fans don’t even want to think about.
It is very easy to avoid. Just win the rest of the way.