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Swiss crowned best curlers in Europe

Swiss curling captain Andreas Schwaller in action

(Keystone)

Switzerland's men's curlers have beaten world champions Scotland at the Gruyère European Curling Championships 2006.

In a thrilling match in Basel, the Swiss used home advantage to pip the Scots 7-6 and thus win the title for the first time in 20 years.

Swiss skip Andi Schwaller put in a captain's performance against the Scots on Friday in the first of the men's play-off matches for a place in the final. The Swiss team beat David Murdoch and his squad, fellow league leaders, 9-5.

On Saturday, Schwaller, Damian Grichting, Thomas Lips and Ralph Stöckli maintained their composure and achieved what no Swiss team had done since Felix Luchsinger's team won the title in Copenhagen in 1986.

The Swedish men held off the Germans for third place.

The Swiss ladies, who won a silver at the Winter Olympics in Turin in February, were beaten in the play-offs by a surprisingly strong Russian team and had to be satisfied with third place.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Final results of the men's European Curling Championship 2006:
1. Switzerland
2. Scotland
3. Sweden
4. Germany
5. Norway
6. Finland
7. France
8. Denmark
9. Ireland
10. Wales

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In brief

Curling is a team sport similar to bowls, played on a rectangular sheet of ice by two teams of four players each.

The players use heavy polished granite stones which they slide down the ice towards a target area called the house.

Points are scored for the number of stones that a team has closer to the centre of the target than the closest of the other team's stones.

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