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GB hockey make women’s final and fall just short in the men’s

[img_assist|nid=3692|title=The equaliser|desc=A late Ashley Jackson corner goal earned GB a 3-3 draw with Australia, but the result wasn’t enough for GB to make the final – Andy Smith|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=255]Sunday’s men’s hockey final at the VISA London international invitational will be played between the world’s top two teams, Australia and Germany (6.30pm UK time), while Argentina and hosts GB will contest the women’s final (12.15pm UK time).

The men’s bronze medal game will be GB vs India (3.45pm); the women’s China vs Korea (9.30am). 

Saturday’s games went as follows (for pictures see the gallery):

Great Britain 3
James Tindall (PC, 19)
Richard Alexander (PC, 30)
Ashley Jackson (PC, 66)
Australia 3
Matt Gohdes (FG, 26)
Jason Wilson (FG, 35)
Simon Orchard (PS, 52) 

A draw was enough to put Australia into Sunday’s final on goal difference. GB converted all three of their corners while Australia put away a couple of chances from open play and squandered a handful more.

“If any side turns up at the Olympics and converts 100% of thier corners they will win a gold medal,” said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said of GB’s three form three and his own side’s corner defence. “Sometimes in hockey the score doesn’t reflect the quality of the play. We can only blame ourselves for the quality of the finishing. We had three corners against us for three goals and that is not something we are happy about.”

GB coach Jason Lee also had his reservations. “In the second half too many people were just out there – shoving it on and looking for someone else to take it on. That is not a medal-winning mentality.”

But coaches aside, many people left happy to have seen GB match the world’s best side and to have seen an Ashley Jackson penalty corner special to tie the scores with four minutes to play.

Germany 2
Christpher Wesley (FG, 27)
Florian Fuchs (FG, 65)
India 1
SK Uthappa (FG, 15)

[img_assist|nid=3752|title=Close battle|desc=Martin Zwicker watches as Max Muller tackles Chinglensana|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=127]Florian Fuchs finished India with a goal worthy of winning any game – a beautiful reverse-stick drive at full pace from the top left of the circle into the top of the net at the far post.

That strike broke India’s hearts in a game where they worked hard and at time enterprisingly to match the world number two side Germany.

It was India who took an early lead when SK Uthappa picked up a deflection on a straight ball into the circle that uncharacteristically eluded the normally admirable German defence. Christopher Wesley tidied up a rebound before half time to set up an interesting second half.

Germany, with a final place already booked for tomorrow looked happy to not lose, until Fuchs smashed in the winner.

GB 2
Alex Danson (FG, 15)
Ashleigh Ball (PC, 23)
Argentina 0

[img_assist|nid=3737|title=Matchwinner again:|desc=Alex Danson gets monstered, her goal set GB on the way to a 2-0 win – Andy Smith|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=127]Great Britain played an excellent first half to lead 2-0 at the break against the world champions. But the home side fell away in the second period leaving the coach and captain disappointed.

 “We are here to prepare this week. We need to have the best games of our lives at London 2012 and we can’t afford to have 40-45 minute games. We need to have 70 minute games,” said coach Danny Kerry.

Skipper Kate Walsh said the side looked really sharp in the first half but that fell away. “On another day if you play a streched game against Argentina they are going to hurt you.”

On Crista Cullen’s missed second-half penalty stroke, Kerry said “I would have bet my house on Crista scoring today; good job I didnt.”

GB’s goals came from Alex Danson with a trademark reverse shot after a run into the circle, and a classic back to injector corner move to Ashleigh Ball.

China 1
Sun Sian (7, PC)
Korea 2
Kim Jongeun (FG, FG, 33,41)

[img_assist|nid=3726|title=|desc=Picture Andy Smith|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=109]Colder than Cannock! China shocked Korea with an early lead from a PC rebound. After that Koreans were always the better organised side and slowly worked their way back into the match.

Not one for the scrapbooks but Korea’s win meant they could still make the final if GB beat Argentina by four goals in the following match.

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