Tears rather than silver or gold for GB's London 2012 women's hockey team
Wednesday, 08 August 2012
August 8 - Britain's female hockey team had their hopes of a place in the Olympic hockey final against the Netherlands dashed when they lost 2-1 to Argentina in front of a partisan crowd here.
Instead of competing for the Olympic title they will now play New Zealand in a battle for bronze.
The defeat left many of the British women in tears at the end of a tense semi-final.
Captain Kate Walsh (pictured above), in an emotional post-match interview, said she was determined not to leave the tournament empty handed.
"I'm so proud of these girls," she said.
"We will give absolutely everything in the final match to try to win that medal.
"We had our chances, we had plenty of possession and I thought at times we looked dangerous.
"We pressed more in the second half and I thought, right up to the last seconds, that we had a chance of getting a second."
In truth, Britain did not make the most of their possession and Argentina were too crafty, and too canny once they had established an early lead.
That was doubled just before the interval when Carla Rebecchi's goal embarrassed Team GB's rear-guard, and although Alex Danson reduced the arrears late in the game, it was never enough.
Indeed, the first half started and ended badly for Danny Kerry's women despite dominating play.
They may have had the lion's share of the ball, but they certainly did not have control of the game.
Argentina were happy to play deep and invited Britain to attack – a tactic that looked even more effective after Argentina stole a six-minute lead.
The British side did not want to concede an early penalty corner, but after six minutes, did precisely that.
As a result 28-year-old Noel Barrionuevo placed a shot perfectly inside goalkeeper Beth Storry's left-hand post.
Argentina then sat back but for all of Britain's time on the ball, mustering a few telling attacks.
Argentina were next to threaten when Luciana Aymar went close.
That sparked the Britons best attack of the half, with Alex Danson finding cleverly the space to squeeze a shot just wide.
But just two minutes from the interval, Argentina struck again with the home side caught napping and failing to play to the whistle.
Rebecchi cut in from the left and wriggled and squirmed along the base line with the hosts appealing that the ball had gone out of play.
As Storry tried to block, Rebecchi – keeping possession as she fell – managed to flick the ball into the net from the tightest angle.
Britain emerged energised after Kerry's half-time talk and swiftly forced a penalty corner, but Argentina snuffed out the danger.
Danson then looked to strike as she pounced on a half-chance with a swiped shot that proved too wide.
It was Danson who popped up again from the right, but her shot was kicked away by goalkeepder Florencio Mutio.
And it looked like it was Argentina's night when a long corner was played across to Helen Richardson with 15 minutes to go.
She had time and space to control and shoot, but her strike was woefully mis-hit.
Richardson made amends five minutes from time with a superb driven cross from the right, after collecting Crista Cullen's free hit.
Danson, on her knees, reacted splendidly to fire into the net.
That prompted a frenzied finish, but it was hopeful and frantic rather than controlled pressure – which summed up the match.
August 2012: No bad blood between us and Argentina, says GB women's hockey star Richardson