Hockey girls ready for Olympic quarter-final against Spain
- Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek
Great Britain’s women’s hockey team heads into their quarter final clash with Spain at the Rio Olympics full of confidence – after becoming the only nation to secure qualification from the pool stage with a 100 per cent record.
The squad, which includes St Albans’ player-coach Hannah Macleod, won all five of their pool games to set up tonight’s (Monday) clash with the Spanish.
They finished pool B with a 2-0 win over Japan and a 2-1 success over the United States, a game in which Macleod won her 150th international cap for England and Great Britain.
That had followed victories over Australia, India and Argentina.
Skipper Kate Richardson-Walsh was naturally delighted with the opening part of the tournament but was careful not to get too far of herself.
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She said: “If you’d offered us top spot at the start of the week I’d have bitten your hand off. The momentum we’ve created is good. All the sides are excellent in this tournament so I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far.”
“We had a lot of possession and chances but we had to turn those into goals. We had to wait to get on the board but it came in the end.
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“In all the games we’ve shown a bit of difference in what we can do. We’ve been goals up, goals down, played with ten and played with nine.
“We’re showing we can do all kinds of hockey; now we want to play at our best. In order to succeed, we need to listen to the tactics.
“Danny Kerry our coach is a fantastic tactician. If we do what he asks of us we’ll be fine.”
Their opponents in the last eight finished fourth in pool A, just pipping China for the final qualification spot with a 3-2 win over South Korea in the final game.
And Richardson-Walsh says the squad are leaving nothing to chance.
She said: “Our first goal was to reach the quarter final. We’ll debrief and learn lessons from the pool stages. We’ll watch lots of video ahead to the next match and make sure we’re prepared.”
Elsewhere defending champions Netherlands reached the quarter-final as group winners in pool A, having won four and drawn one.
And their reward is a repeat of the gold-medal match in 2012 when they defeated Argentina.
New Zealand, fourth in London, will play Australia while United States face Germany.
GB against Spain starts at 10pm.