Sweden plays hosts the 2012 European Curling Championships as the continent’s top men’s and women’s teams head to Karlstad for seven days of competition.
With the focus for the top teams increasingly turning to the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi just some 14 months away, a high standard of curling is expected, with both Scotland teams hoping to challenge for medals.
British Eurosport will have live and delayed coverage of the championships from December 8-15, with additional live matches available via Eurosport Player.
This will be the 38th edition of the European Championships since the inaugural event in Megeve, France, in 1975.
Ten teams will take part in the elite competitions in both the men’s and women’s events, which will adopt a round-robin format before the play-offs begin on Wednesday and Thursday, with both the men’s and women’s finals on Saturday, December 15.
Scotland has a proud history in the men’s event with 24 medals overall, including 12 golds.
They won consecutive golds in 2007 and 2008, but rivals Norway will be the team to beat having claimed top spot for the past two years.
Scotland will be represented by the quartet led by Tom Brewster, who have taken world silver in the last two seasons, third Greg Drummond, second Scott Andrews, lead Michael Goodfellow and new rotating alternate David Murdoch, who competed for Great Britain at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
Current Olympic silver medallist Thomas Ulsrud will be going for his and Norway’s third European crown in succession, while last year’s losing finalist Niklas Edin of Sweden, who won the European title in Aberdeen back in 2009, will be playing in front of his home-town crowd.
In the women’s competition, hosts Sweden have been the dominant force in past European Championships with 18 golds to their name.
However, Scotland are the defending champions after beating the 2012 hosts 8-2 in last year’s final.
Eve Muirhead’s team opens the defence of their title in the toughest possible way with a match-up against reigning world champions Switzerland.
The core Muirhead team line-up remains the same as last season, with third Anna Sloan, second Vicki Adams and lead Claire Hamilton, with Sarah Reid coming in as alternate, all under the watchful eyes of team coach David Hay and national coach Rhona Martin, who was part of the Great Britain side that famously won gold at Salt Lake City in 2002.
As well as reigning world champion, the Scottish women face some strong opposition, including the same Swedish team that they beat in last year’s final.
Other potentially strong teams include those led by Denmark’s Lene Nielsen, Russia’s Anna Siderova and the perennial Andrea Schopp of Germany, who is making her record 26th appearance in this event.
An important facet of the event is that it acts as qualification for the World Curling Championships, and as Olympic qualifying points can only be gained at world championships, the stakes will be high.
In the men’s event, the top eight finishers will qualify for the 2013 World Championship in Victoria, Canada, while in the women’s event the top seven finishers will qualify for their World Championships in Riga, Latvia.
British Eurosport will have extensive high-definition coverage of the 2012 European Curling Championships, with live and delayed action from selected matches throughout the event.
The pan-European broadcaster’s online streaming service Eurosport Player will have additional live coverage of each match in its entirety via the ‘Bonus Channel’ feeds throughout the competition.
Eurosport Player is a subscription service available via www.eurosportplayer.co.uk or via the Eurosport Player app for the iPhone, iPad and Android.
Saturday 8th December Germany v Scotland (Men) LIVE: 7.45pm-9.00pm – British Eurosport Additional LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 08:00 – Switzerland v Sweden (Men) 13:00 – Sweden v Denmark (Women) 13:00 – Scotland v Switzerland (Women) 18:00 – Norway v Switzerland (Men) 18:00 – Germany v Scotland (Men) Sunday 9th December Sweden v Germany (Women) LIVE: 5.15pm-6.00pm – British Eurosport Additional LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 11:00 – Denmark v Norway (Men) 11:00 – France v Sweden (Men) 15:00 – Czech Republic v Hungary (Women) 15:00 – Sweden v Germany (Women) 19:00 – Sweden v Czech Republic (Men) Monday 10th December Denmark v Switzerland (Women) LIVE: 8.30am-11.00am – British Eurosport Sweden v Germany (Men) LIVE: 1.30pm-4.00pm – British Eurosport Additional LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 08:00 – Sweden v Russia (Women) 08:00 – Denmark v Switzerland (Women) 13:00 – Norway v Scotland (Men) 13:00 – Sweden v Germany (Men) 18:00 – Scotland v Sweden (Women) Tuesday 11th December Switzerland v Scotland (Men) LIVE: 7.30am-10.00am – British Eurosport Scotland v Germany (Women) LIVE: 12.00pm-2.30pm – British Eurosport Denmark v Sweden (Men) LIVE: 4.00pm-6.00pm – British Eurosport Additional LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 07:00 – Switzerland v Scotland (Men) 11:00 – Scotland v Germany (Women) 11:00 – Sweden v Italy (Women) 15:00 – Denmark v Sweden (Men) 15:00 – Norway v Germany (Men) 19:00 – Scotland v Denmark (Women) Wednesday 12th December Switzerland v Germany (Men) LIVE: 9.30am-11.00am – British Eurosport Switzerland v Sweden (Women) LIVE: 2.00pm-4.00pm – British Eurosport Norway v Sweden (Men) LIVE: 6.45pm-9.00pm – British Eurosport 2 Additional LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 08:00 – Switzerland v Germany (Men) 08:00 – Sweden v Scotland (Men) 13:00 – Denmark v Italy (Women) 13:00 – Switzerland v Sweden (Women) 18:00 – Norway v Sweden (Men) 18:00 – Match TBC Thursday 13th December Denmark v Switzerland (Women) Delayed: 2.30pm-4.00pm – British Eurosport LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 07:00 – Match TBC 07:00 – Match TBC 19:00 – Playoff Game Friday 14th December LIVE matches on Eurosport Player: 12:00 – Semi Finals 19:00 – Bronze Medal Matches Saturday 15th December Men’s Final – Sweden v Norway LIVE: 2.00pm-5.00pm – Eurosport Player Delayed: 10.45pm-11.45pm – British Eurosport Women’s Final – SCOTLAND v Sweden LIVE: 9.00am-12.00pm – Eurosport Player Delayed: 11.45pm-1.15am – British Eurosport