European Mixed Curling Championships 2013: Complete Preview for All Action

Aidan Reynolds@@aidanreynoldsContributor IIISeptember 14, 2013

The stage is set for a big week of curling in Edinburgh. (Image via the official tournament Facebook page)
The stage is set for a big week of curling in Edinburgh. (Image via the official tournament Facebook page)

September 14 sees the start of the European Mixed Curling Championships at the Murrayfield rink in Edinburgh, Scotland. The action will run until September 21 and see each European Member Association send one mixed team to participate in the tournament.

That will mean 25 nations lining up against each other in a three-group tournament, with each team playing each other once. The top two teams qualify for the quarterfinal stage, along with the third-placed team with the best result in the Draw Shot Challenge. The two remaining third-placed teams will then play each other to decide the final spot in the knockout stages.

The two winners of the semifinals will play for the gold medal, while the losing teams will battle it out for the bronze.

See the tables below for a breakdown of this year's groups.

The mixed teams are made up of two male and two female curlers, with Scotland looking to retain the title they won a year ago. However, they will have to do without Eva Muirhead, who has been forced to prioritise her Olympic training. Kay Adams will take her place, completing a strong Scottish team who remain favourites to take home the crown.

However, they will have to take down Germany in the opening round. Andy Kapp is the skip, with good form at Edinburgh in the past. Kapp has won the Edinburgh International Curling Championship, as well as claiming gold medals in the European Curling Championship in 1992 and 1997.

It's not all about Scotland and Germany, though. Ireland, Hungary and Norway all feature World and European Championship medal winners and are all in different groups, setting up gripping matchups in the later stages.

They still have to get through a tough group stage, with Sweden and Finland looking to improve on their silver and bronze medals from last year.

Switzerland—who were the winners in 2011also feature in Norway and Sweden's group, marking Group B out as an early contender for heartbreak. With such large groups, there are no clear-cut paths to the next stage and every team will feel like they have a chance to qualify.

Scotland will have the home spectators on their side and an extra incentive to ensure that the championship will remain in the country, as it is Scotland's first time hosting the tournament. It's not a huge advantage, but with no TV coverage available and such a packed field, a 200-capacity crowd could mean the difference between triumph and obscurity.