By Tom Degun

Glenn Howard_April_12April 8 – Canada narrowly defeated Scotland 8-7 in a thrilling gold medal match at the men's 2012 World Curling Championships to claim the prestigious title in front of a packed house of some 3,000 spectators in Basel.

After an extra end in a highly-competitive game, the reigning Olympic champions emerged victorious when their skip Glenn Howard (pictured above) delivered a well-judged draw-shot for the one point his team needed to win the gold.

It was a superb shot that gave Howard an astonishing fourth world title following his three previous victories in 1987, 1993 and 2007.

"I won my first world title 25 years ago and this one's just as special, maybe more so," he said.

"It just feels great to win.

"I can't give enough praise to my team [pictured below in white], they've been fantastic all year.

"We hung in there, it wasn't our 'A' game but we got it done with a 'B+' game."

Curling April_12
Scottish skip Tom Brewster (pictured below centre) could not hide his disappointment after being forced to settle for silver.

"I'm gutted.

"I thought we were the better team, I really did.

"I thought we played some great curling, an inch more curl on that shot in the tenth and we're there."

It was a particularly bitter pill for Brewster to swallow as it proved the second successive final loss for the Scottish skip and his team after defeat in the World Championship gold medal match last year.

"Twelve months ago we were in the same position and we're miles better than last year," he said

"We've made big improvements since last year on fitness and sweeping and we've just got more experience.

"Our team played great here – what an effort.

"We've had a strong week here and we've got a big future."

Tom Brewster_April_12
In the bronze medal match, Sweden narrowly defeated Norway 9-8 following an extra end to secure the third spot on the podium.

"This medal shows how solid we are as a team," said Sweden skip Sebastian Kraupp.

"We've been up and down all week, so to have a medal here is excellent."

The results mean that the top four teams have secured a huge haul of points for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, with Scotland's points counting as Great Britain's qualification points

Based on cumulative points earned for their finishes at the 2012 and 2013 men's World Curling Championships, the top seven countries, along with hosts Russia, will compete at Sochi 2014.

An additional two nations will have the chance to win their ticket to 2014 Winter Olympics at a new World Curling Federation Olympic qualifying event to be held in December 2013.

All nations that have played at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Championships are eligible to compete in this event, if they have not already secured their spot at the Games.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]