Field Hockey - Olympic Games

Britain in Olympic semis despite loss

Britain women’s hockey players qualified for the London 2012 Olympics semi-finals despite losing to reigning champions Netherlands.

 
Britain in Olympic semis - Field Hockey - Olympic GamesReuters
 

The home side led 1-0 at half-time but the Dutch were the dominant side throughout and struck back in the second-half to maintain their 100 percent Pool A record as they ran out 2-1 winners.

But the defeat didn't cost Great Britain their final-four spot, that already wrapped up before the game thanks to Japan shocking China earlier in the day.

However Great Britain coach Danny Kerry was still not happy with his team, who at times looked sloppy and allowed the Dutch to take control.

“I'm pretty angry after throwing away our lead. Really stupid. We're better than that. We shouldn't accept that,” he said.

The normally clinical Netherlands have been profligate with their penalty corners in this tournament, scoring just one of twenty going into this match, and it remained that way in the first-half as they failed to convert again.

Their best chances came through tournament top scorer Kim Lammers who narrowly missed twice with cute deflected efforts.

Crista Cullen made the Dutch pay for their wastefulness as she buried a penalty corner into the bottom left corner of the goal with 22 minutes on the clock, however it was a lead Britain scarcely deserved.

In their previous game, a loss to China, Great Britain were flat and uninventive – tonight they were overrun by a slick Netherlands side that are surely favourites to defend their gold medal.

It didn’t take long for the Dutch to get back into the game in the second half as they finally converted from a penalty corner.

Maartje Paumen slipped the ball left from the top of the circle, leaving Naomi van As to sweep home at an unguarded near post.

They were soon in the lead as Kitty van Male tapped in from the shortest of distances as Kelly Jonker latched onto a loose ball in the circle and fed van Male.

And Britain’s super-striker Alex Danson is keen to move on from their two poor performances and focus on their upcoming semi-final.

“What we need to focus on right now is to recover from this game and focus on our next one so that we get our game right,” she said.

“When we come out we'll come out with a much better performance in our next game.”

Great Britain will play either Australia or Argentina in their semi-final – depending on the outcome between the two – or New Zealand on Wednesday.

And Danson suggested Britain could be doing an extra bit of pre semi-final research.

“If it doesn't interrupt with recovery, we'll come out and watch the Argentina versus Australia match. But only if it doesn't interrupt with recovery.”

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