Team GB face Japan on Tuesday and know defeat in any of their final three matches could see them eliminated
Eve Muirhead is staring down three must-win games to survive at the Olympics after a crushing 7-3 loss to Canada.
The Scot struggled to find the range that propelled her to back-to-back round robin wins and met an irresistible force in opposite number Jennifer Jones.
Team GB now need victories over Japan, China and Russian Olympic Committee to get the six wins they need to guarantee a semi-final spot.
“We need to take every game from now as if it’s the final,” Muirhead said. “That gives us good focus and concentration.
“I’ve been in this position a lot of times, knowing that you need to win the rest of your matches. We just need to learn from our mistakes and what we did wrong.
“We need to go back, refocus and forget about this game. It’s hard to just forget about it but we’re capable of doing that and I do believe we’re capable of winning our last three.”
It was attritional from the start with Jones playing a sumptuous draw with her final stone of the first end, forcing an error on the double takeout from Muirhead and stealing one.
The second end was blanked and in the third Muirhead misjudged a chance to hit and roll and lie two, but still drew level.
There were rarely more than two stones in play at any one time in a cagey, error-strewn contest.
Britain managed to clear Canada’s stone with the hammer in the fourth but squandered the opportunity to score one themselves.
Muirhead thought she’d limited damage when she shielded a stone on the button only for Jones to blast both out of scoring and lie three, a decisive move for 4-1 at halfway.
The 31-year-old played a draw to pull one back in the sixth and then looked to have Canada tied up in knots and poised to steal before Jones squirmed out of trouble superbly to lie one.
The teams traded scores of one and Britain had the hammer on the final end but Jones stole one to seal victory.
Muirhead and Jones, Canada’s oldest female Olympian in any sport at 47, shared the podium at Sochi 2014 when Team GB took bronze and Canada went unbeaten to win gold.
Muirhead needs to find four more wins from somewhere to secure a second Olympic medal.
“It was a little frustrating, I didn’t feel like we were too far away,” said Muirhead.
“The curling gods aren’t always with you – let’s hope in our last three games that we play well. We know we have to, we’ve got tough opposition, but it is in our own hands.
“Japan are always going to be a tough game. We’ll come out with a lot of fire and hopefully get the win.”
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