Friday September 17, 2021

Great Britain reach men’s hockey quarter-finals

July 30, 2021

TOKYO: Great Britain qualified for the men’s hockey quarter-finals with a game to spare after fighting back to draw 2-2 against Holland.

Sam Ward struck twice during the closing minutes at Oi Hockey Stadium as Britain responded strongly to a 5-1 drubbing from Germany in their previous match.

Ward’s equaliser four minutes from time confirmed they will progress after Holland led the Pool B encounter through goals by Thierry Brinkman and Jip Janssen.

Holland exerted sustained pressure during the final two minutes, forcing four penalty corners, but Britain’s defensive structure held firm and underpinned an impressive recovery.

Ward said: “We rode the pressure in the first half – the Dutch are a great side and they played some great hockey – but in the end our fitness shone through.

“It shows that some days you can just grind out the work-rate. We are a bunch of very fit blokes, and that is what shone through.

“We are building into the tournament. We had two cracking results, then we got a bit of a pumping (against Germany), but sometimes you need a bit of a slap in the face.

“To come back from 2-0 down to get a draw so late is massive, and it’s the springboard we need to plough on.

“Tournament hockey is about momentum, and if we can build on that today and take it into tomorrow (for the match against Belgium) and the quarter-finals, then anything can happen.”

Great Britain’s women suffered a second defeat of their pool campaign when they were beaten 1-0 by Holland.

After an opening game loss to Germany, the reigning Olympic champions collected a maximum six points by defeating South Africa and India.

But they were edged out by the Dutch, with Frederique Matla scoring the solitary goal during the opening quarter. Britain’s final group game is against Ireland on Saturday, with a quarter-final place in sight.