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Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

18 August 2008

Hockey women in 5th place play-off

Lucilla Wright came off the bench in Britain’s 0-0 encounter with the USA as her side secured it’s spot in the 5th/6th place play-off at the Beijing Olympics.

Great Britain survived a total of 10 USA penalty corners – seven in the first half and three in the second – and drew their final pool match to add a point to their tally. The draw puts Britain in third place in their group and has assured Team GB of at least the sixth position overall, which would be three places above their current world ranking of ninth.

The first of the USA’s penalty corners came on the 8th minute but they were denied by the in-form Beth Storry and a minute later, their second penalty corner somehow stayed out of the net as Angela Loy, hanging by the post, couldn’t control the loose ball and was quickly surrounded by British defenders.

The last of their first-half penalty corners came with 30 seconds left on the clock, but the shot was deflected high over the bar.

The USA took only five second-half minutes to earn their eighth penalty corner, but Storry was equal to the shot and deflected it over the bar.

In the 52nd minute, Chloe Rogers stole the ball in midfield and put a long ball into the circle, but there was no-one there to take a shot.

The woodwork denied the USA from a 54th minute penalty corner when Loy’s shot hit the post and the ball was somehow scrambled off the line to safety. A minute later, Rachel Walker and Charlotte Craddock combined well down the left, but the attack petered out when Craddock was stopped by Kelly Doton.

Some great play from Alex Danson down the right in the 59th minute ended with a cross, but found no-one waiting to tap home.

Great Britain earned the first of just two penalty corners with five minutes left on the clock, but Kate Walsh’s shot was just wide of the mark and the USA were quick to mount a counter-attack from which they won their final penalty corner, but Storry made a double save, getting down well for the first shot and clearing the rebound attempt to safety to deny America yet again.

With just one minute left on the clock, Great Britain created a number of opportunities, and as the seconds counted down, earned a last-gasp penalty corner, but there was to be no last minute reprieve and after a number of attempts, the USA earned possession and cleared the ball out of the circle to finish 0-0.

Loughborough graduate Danny Kerry, the Great Britain Head Coach, paid tribute to tonight’s opposition.

“I thought the United States closed off our options pretty well,” he said. “Our lack of meaningful penetration just shows how well they played today. I am basically disappointed with our performance. But as a whole, we climbed the world rankings and beat some good teams. You have to look at the bigger picture. It was not good tonight, but overall it has been pretty good.”

Britain’s women now go head to head with world number four Australia at 11am local time on Friday 22 August. Although disappointed at not reaching the semi-finals, Great Britain have guaranteed they will finish in the top-six and will therefore achieve a final placing at least three places higher than their world ranking which is a massive achievement for the side who failed to make the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The Hockeyroos will provide stiff opposition for Great Britain. Australia finished fifth at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but were gold medallists in 1996 in Atlanta, on home turf in Sydney 2000 and before that in Seoul 1988. Fifth in 1992 and 2004 is the lowest the side has ever finished at the Olympics. Australia and Great Britain have only met once before in an Olympic Games and it ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat for the Brits in 2000. In 33 meetings, Great Britain have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 28 and have scored 29 times (average 0.87) whilst conceding 79 goals (2.39).

The top six finish means that Britain will now play in the 2009 Champions Trophy in Sydney, an annual tournament for the top six sides in the world.

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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