Winter Olympics 2022: Team GB beat Sweden; advance to women's curling final

Team GB women's curlers are now guaranteed a medal at Beijing 2022. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Great Britain's women's curling team are guaranteed at least a silver at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games after beating defending Olympic champions Sweden 12-11 in the semifinal on Friday.

The team, skippered by the inspired Eve Muirhead, faces Japan for gold on Sunday after narrowly beating Sweden in a match that went to an extra end.

Muirhead's team of Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff, Vicky Wright and reserve Mili Smith got off to a difficult start as they went 4-0 down in the first end but struck back with three in the second. Sweden extended the lead to 5-3 in the third, only for Britain to strike back with one in the fourth.

Britain then took an extra stone in the next end to draw it all level at the break.

Sweden re-started brilliantly to take the sixth end with two, only for Muirhead's team to strike back with two in the next. Neither team could pull away, and they were all square with three ends left. Britain held Sweden to one in the eighth, and then came an astonishing effort from Muirhead with the final stone of the ninth as they picked up four to lead 11-8 heading into the final end. Britain had one foot in the final, but with the last stone, Sweden scored three to push it into an extra end.

And Britain, with the hammer, managed to edge past the reigning champions to prompt celebrations on the rink.

This is Muirhead's fourth Olympics, and to date she has a bronze to her name from Sochi 2014. But she will now be aiming for gold on Sunday, the day after Team GB face Sweden in the final of the men's team curling.

"Third-time lucky -- I've lost two semifinals before, and I was desperate for it," Muirhead said. "These moments don't come around often and I am so, so proud of these girls. It's such a team game out there. What a moment and it sounds amazing to say we're in the Olympic final.

The women's team secured their knockout spot by the thinnest of margins after winning five of their nine round-robin matches. Heading into the final batch of games, Muirhead's team needed to beat the ROC and rely on results elsewhere going their way. With the win-loss record-equalling out between Britain, Japan and Canada, it came down to the Draw Shot Challenge (which takes place before every game and rewards teams closest to the button) and Britain secured their spot in the semifinals by fewer than 10 centimetres ahead of Canada.

Muirhead spoke about the heartbreak of PyeongChang 2018 in the build-up to Friday's semifinal as she reflected on the defeat to Sweden four years ago. Then Muirhead's team fell 10-5 and were defeated by Japan 5-3 in the bronze medal match. But they have banished those memories with a commanding showing at Beijing.

"We've got Saturday off so we take tonight to celebrate amongst ourselves," Muirhead added. "We'll be here supporting the men and after the game tomorrow, we need to knuckle down and get back to a flat ground and we have one game to go. When you're in the final, no one wants to get the silver medal so believe you me we're fighting hard for the gold."