London 2012 Olympics: GB Hockey team make the semi-finals despite loss
Great Britain’s women slipped to successive defeats with last night’s 2-1 loss to the Netherlands but with their semi-final qualification already secured the only effect was to give them a slightly tougher draw.
Had they beaten the Dutch they would have topped Pool A and faced the second-placed side in the other group but now they will take on old rivals Argentina, who played out an unimpressive 0-0 draw with Australia later last night.
However, a last-four spot achieved the side’s first objective of staying in medal contention, although their performance will have to go up a level if they are to see that aim through.
Japan’s victory over China – who defeated GB on Saturday – earlier in the day gave the home side the luxury of knowing they were into the last four irrespective of this result.
However, that freedom did not translate into their play and the sharpness and drive which they had shown in early fixtures was distinctly lacking.
GB had an early scare when Kim Lammers, with four goals already, deflected wide Margot van Geffen’s cross, and defensively there were a couple of shaky moments with errors leading to the Netherlands’ first penalty corner, which they did not make the most of.
Crista Cullen showed the Dutch how it should be done from their first set-piece, flicking low and hard to beat Joyce Sombroek for her fourth of the tournament.
The Netherlands picked up the pace and Lammers deflected another effort wide, this time from Kitty van Male’s assist, before goalkeeper Beth Storry produced a sharp save low to her right to deny Maartje Paumen.
The Dutch captain was top scorer in Beijing with 11 goals but she has yet to score in London and looks nowhere near the threat she was only a couple of years ago.
Paumen appeared to have excused herself from corner striking duties altogether but it not mean she could not make a difference from set-pieces and her slipped pass allowed Naomi van As to equalise by sweeping home near the post in the 43rd minute.
GB continued to look untidy in defence and when Kate Walsh lost her bearings Van As was afforded time to pick a spot at the far post and Van Male turned in the second.
That allowed the Netherlands to play with more confidence and they began to take an increasingly stronger grip on the game.
Storry made a very good double save from Ellen Hoog at close-quarters as space began to open up in the closing stages. But there was no dramatic late comeback like their male counterparts had effected so excitingly against Australia the previous evening, salvaging a point from 3-0 down, but a greater challenge now lies ahead.
The Dutch topped the pool as they extended their record to five straight wins.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west