04/04/2013 03:06 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Scotland in 1st at men's world curling playdowns after Canada loses to Denmark

VICTORIA - This time, Brad Jacobs was not willing to take the blame for a loss.

Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne downed Jacobs' Northern Ontario rink 5-3 at the world men's curling championships Thursday.

With one game left to play in the round-robin segment later Thursday, Canada (7-3) was still in position to finish first or second and get two cracks at qualifying for Sunday's final.

"Nobody on the planet was beating Denmark today," said Jacobs. "I don't care who you are. They played phenomenal."

A day earlier, he had blamed himself for his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink's upset loss to Japan, a distant also-ran, and criticized himself again after ekeing out a win over Russia, another rink out of playoff contention.

"They had to come out and beat us to stay alive — and they did," said Jacobs.

Despite the loss, Canada (7-3) caught a huge break as Finland's Aku Kauste upset Scotland's David Murdoch 10-9. With the loss, Scotland (8-3) retained first place overall but kept Jacobs' hopes of finishing first alive, pending his result against Sweden later Thursday.

The one-two Page playoff game and any necessary tiebreakers will be held Friday. The loser of the opening playoff game between the first and second-place teams will get another crack at the final against the winner of the three-four game Saturday.

The Danes kept their playoff hopes alive as they finished the round-robin segment with a 7-4 record.

"We had the luck and we had the breaks to win this game," said Stjerne. "We had lost some games where we didn't have the breaks. Sometimes you get them. Sometimes you don't."

Stjerne secured the win as he made a great hit-and-roll shot in the ninth end. Nudging a Canadian rock off the button, he picked up two points to go up 5-3. The Danes were then able to run the Canadians out of rocks in the 10th.

"Really, it all came down to the ninth end," said Jacobs. "I thought we were looking pretty good there — and we weren't."

In other afternoon play, Switzerland beat Japan 8-5. The Swiss (5-5) kept their remote playoff chance alive while Japan fell to 3-8.

Meanwhile, the United States (5-6) completed its games with a 9-7 win over Norway. (5-5)

After blanking the first end, Stjerne hit and stayed for one point in the second to open the scoring.

Jacobs evened the score in the second as he drew for one point, but the Danes took a 2-1 lead in the third as Stjerne took out a Canadian counter — the lone rock in the house — with the hammer. Canada created a 2-2 tie on another Jacobs draw in the fifth.

Stjerne hit and stuck for one point in the seventh to go up 3-2, but Jacobs was able to overcome some misses by Fry and himself to hit and roll for one in the eighth, creating another deadlock before Stjerne decided the outcome with a hit and roll of his own.

Earlier Thursday, Scotland defeated China 7-4 today to move into sole possession of first place at 8-2.

In other early games at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, Sweden edged Denmark 7-6, the Czech Republic beat Japan 10-5 and Russia topped the United States 6-5.

The loss eliminated the Americans before they closed out play with their win over Norway in the afternoon.

"I wish we would have been a little bit sharper earlier in the week," said U.S. skip Brady Clark of Seattle. "I feel good about the way we finished, but I just don't feel good about the way we started."