Britain through to historic Champions Trophy final

Saturday, 04 February 2012
By David Gold

GB womenhockey_5FebFebruary 4 - Britain's women (pictured) made hockey history tonight as they beat old rivals Germany 2-0 to take their place in tomorrow's final, where they will face the tournament hosts Argentina in Rosario. 

Goals from Sarah Thomas (pictured below, left) and Ashleigh Ball gave them victory as they continued a good recent record against the Germans.

A good start saw Alex Danson almost give Britain an early lead, only for Yvonne Frank to deny her, before the same player went close again after 10 minutes.

Britain controlled the play and did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, with captain Kate Walsh having her effort saved by Frank.

The ball came back out to Laura Bartlett, who fired it across for Thomas to slot home.

In sweltering temperatures, the teams were given a brief break midway through the half, after which Germany began to come back into the game, with Natascha Keller having a chance to equalise, but prevented from doing so by Beth Storry.

Keller went close again as Germany threatened to draw level but Britain put daylight between the two sides when Ashleigh Ball set up Crista Cullen – the team's top scorer in Argentina so far – and her shot was diverted in by Ball to make it 2-0.

Germany continued to pick up form and pressured Britain towards the end, but Danny Kerry's side defended well and almost had a third when Ball missed Richardson's centre.

BGwomenhockeyplayers 5Feb
The 2-0 win meant that Kerry became the first coach to guide a British team to the final of the Champions Trophy.

He praised the team's maturity afterwards.

"It was a controlled win in exceptionally hot conditions," he said.

"We have shown great maturity today in coming out and doing the business in a semi final."

Walsh added: "We knew it would be a tough game and we knew we had to concentrate and be disciplined.

"We took our chances well, we were clinical and I'm proud of the team for this."

Britain will now face Argentina, who reached their sixth successive final after they beat the Netherlands on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

The final between Britain and Argentina comes at a time when tensions are on the rise between the two countries over the Falkland Islands, the disputed territory fought over almost 30 years ago.

On the field, Britain beat Argentina last month in Córdoba in the Four Nations friendly tournament, which will give Kerry's team confidence that they can repeat that victory on Sunday.

The final is being broadcast live on the BBC red button from 23:00 GMT.

Contact the writer of this story at david.gold@insidethegames.biz


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