Martin leads Canada to final

Canada will face Norway in the men's curling final, giving veteran skip Kevin Martin a chance to win the gold he missed by the tiniest of margins in 2002.


Canada easily swept aside a young Swedish team in the semi-final, beating them 6-3 in Thursday's second semi-final sessions. Earlier the Canadian women had also qualified for the finals, where they will play Sweden.

Norway's men, the talk of the Games with their loud, diamond-print pants, beat Switzerland 7-5 in their play-off.

The Canadian men went undefeated through the round robin games that preceded the semi-finals, a first for Olympic curling since the sport regained medal status in 1998.

"We are on a roll now for sure, there are no two ways about that," Martin said. "We definitely want to finish it off on a positive note, so we have to play well."

Martin has been solid throughout the tournament, and noisy sell-out crowds have energised the team. Fans halted one match with an impromptu rendition of Canada's national anthem.

Canada and Norway play for the gold on Saturday.

The Canucks had been expected to be strong medal contenders and have lived up to their billing with cagey strategy and pinpoint rock throwing when the pressure has been on.

At the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, Martin, 43, and his team lost to Norway in the final when his last rock traveled just millimetres too far.

Swedish captain Niklas Edin, who missed several key shots in the semi-final, reminded the Norwegians they will have their hands full this time.

"Canada are the best team here. They can be beat, but it's going to be tough for anyone that's going to play them in the final," the 24-year-old said.

Norway's Torger Nergaard joked that as underdogs the crowd may cheer for them instead of the Canadians. He is under no illusions that the home team are heavy favourites.

"It was our goal to get a medal, and now we've got a medal. Now we just go out and have fun," Nergaard said.

Switzerland and Sweden will play off for the bronze medal before the final on Saturday.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and EurosportHD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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