GB into last four despite defeat

06 August 2012 / 20:50

Great Britain's women's hockey team slipped to successive defeats, going down 2-1 to Holland but with their semi-final qualification already secured the only effect was to give them a slightly tougher draw.

Had they beaten Holland they would have topped Pool A and faced the second-placed side in the other group but now they will take on the winners, to be decided by the outcome of the late match between Argentina with Australia.

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 Holland's 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. Holland 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.

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 Holland 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.