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American Men Make Curling Semis

April 6, 2000

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) _ The United States scraped past France Thursday to secure a berth in the semifinals of the world curling championships alongside Canada, Sweden and Finland.

Craig Brown’s Madison, Wis. foursome that also includes Ryan Quinn, Jonathan Brunt and John Dunlop, squeaked past the French 4-2 in a barren but critical game, becoming the last team to qualify for the final four.

``It’s a relief,″ said Brown, 24, whose team is playing in its first world championships. ``It feels good.

Without the victory, the Americans would have been forced to win a tie-breaking round against Norway, Denmark and Olympic champions Switzerland in order to advance.

The United States will face Canada in Saturday’s semifinal, while Sweden will play Finland.

``They aren’t infallible,″ Brown said of the Canadian team, which is at 8-1. ``Anybody can miss a shot including them.

``There’s more pressure on them because they have a whole country expecting them to win every single game. We have nothing to lose.″

Brown’s crew had kept its hopes alive the previous night with an 8-2 thumping of Scotland but later lost to Canada, leaving them in a must-win situation with France.

The women’s semifinalists were decided on Wednesday.

In Friday’s round of four, Canada will take on Scotland in the afternoon, while Switzerland will face Norway.

Americans Amy Wright, Amy Becher, Joni Cotton and Natalie Simensen dropped out of contention Wednesday after a 12-6 loss to Sweden. The American quartet _ which had been hoping to improve on the silver medal performance by Patti Lank’s crew at last year’s worlds _ finished eighth at 3-5.

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