Great Britain move into hockey semi-finals at Rio Olympics

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 August 2016

Georgie Twigg celebrates as GB beat Spain in the quarter-final of the Rio Olympics. Picture: KOEN SUYK

Georgie Twigg celebrates as GB beat Spain in the quarter-final of the Rio Olympics. Picture: KOEN SUYK

© Koen Suyk

A first-half blitz from Great Britain booked their place in the semi finals of the Olympic Games after a convincing 3-1 win over Spain in Rio.

Hitchin's Helen Richardson-Walsh scored the second of GB's three goals against Spain in Rio. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEKHitchin's Helen Richardson-Walsh scored the second of GB's three goals against Spain in Rio. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Early goals from Georgie Twigg, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Lily Owsley ensured Danny Kerry’s side raced into a 3-0 lead before half time.

And although Spain came back into the contest in the second half, scoring through Georgina Oliva, GB sailed through, setting up a semi-final with New Zealand tomorrow (Wednesday).

Great Britain came out of the blocks at a searing pace in the first quarter and were ahead after eight minutes.

A polished penalty corner move saw the Surbiton connection link up as Giselle Ansley’s precise pass was expertly diverted into the roof of the net by Georgie Twigg.

Goalscorer Lily Owsley (centre), goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and Laura Unsworth after Team GB's 3-1 win over Spain in the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics. Picture: 
WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEKGoalscorer Lily Owsley (centre), goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and Laura Unsworth after Team GB's 3-1 win over Spain in the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEK

And it was two just before the break as Sophie Bray’s break down the left saw her pick out Richardson-Walsh for the simplest of finishes.

Their third was almost a carbon copy of the second, this time Alex Danson setting up Owsley to slot home.

Spain rallied in the second half, hitting the post through Berta Bonastre’s deflection.

However, they only managed to pull one back midway through the fourth quarter thanks to Oliva’s stunning individual effort.

Spain threatened with a couple of late penalty corners but Great Britain’s defence held firm and their place in the semi-final was confirmed on full time.

GB’s captain, Kate Richardson-Walsh, said: “It was a dominant performance. We started brilliantly in the first five minutes.

“We really went at them. We created chances and had a corner and that really settled us down.

“Our form reminds me of the Olympic qualifiers in Valencia. We built momentum game to game and we went unbeaten at that tournament.

It feels the same as that. Each game we’re taking a little more and each game we’re showing a little more of what we can do. It bodes well for the semi final that each game we’re showing another facet of ourselves which sets us up well.

“We don’t expect to win. We believe. We go back to square one for the next game. We believe we can win but we must do our jobs. We have to execute the tactics laid out by the coaches but we believe in what we’re doing.

“We can’t go into the New Zealand game thinking emotionally. We must play it as it comes. We can’t think of what’s gone or what might be; you have to concentrate on what you’re doing. I’m just thinking about the next game. We believe we can get a medal but it’s off in the distance and we are focused on the semi final.”

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