Great Britain’s confidence is high ahead of World League
- Credit: Archant
Confidence is high in the Great Britain hockey camp ahead of the World League in Antwerp, according to team manager Andy Halliday.
The men’s team earned a shock 2-0 win over Australia, the world number one, in a test match at Lea Valley, ending a 27-year wait for a win over the Aussies.
The win has Team GB feeling good about their chances of securing a place at the Olympics in Rio.
“From a confidence perspective, it gave the group a boost,” said Halliday, who is the head coach at St Albans Hockey Club.
“What we try to do is get up to speed ahead of an important tournament. There’s no better team than Australia for that because their intensity is the highest in the world. They’re world number one and the team everyone aspires to.
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“It was a cracking game and a good measure of how far this group has progressed over the last year or so. We didn’t think about the fact we hadn’t beaten them since 1988; it’s all about the present and at our best we can compete with anyone.”
Britain can earn a spot at next year’s Olympics if they finish in the top four in Belgium. With so much riding on this one tournament, they have left no stone unturned.
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“It comes down to one game in this tournament so we’re trying to get every little one per cent we can to aid our performance. There is so little between the top five or six teams,” he said.
Their rigorous preparation has seen the team undergo a dress rehearsal of the tournament, with a trip to Antwerp to play Belgium and a stay at the same hotel they will this weekend.
Team GB will have to get through the pool stages and win their quarter-final tie to achieve their Olympic aim. While Halliday isn’t a fan of the tournament’s format, the task is simple: “We have to finish in the top four to qualify for Rio so it’s a very important tournament.”