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Great Britain face crunch day in the Investec London Cup

[img_assist|nid=3924|title=Germany 1 South Africa 0|desc=Germany goalscorer Eileen Hoffman (left) battles with Lenise Marais during their pool game in the Investec London Cup – Ady Kerry|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=117]Great Britain’s hockey women must defeat Germany by two clear goals today in the Investec London Cup to avoid the ignominy of playing for the wooden spoon in their own tournament.

A comprehensive win will be a tough ask, with Germany showing some good quality passing moves and well orgainsed defence in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over South Africa.

Great Britain will, however, have noted a couple of late defensive lapses by the Germans – to be rescued by the superb Krisina Reynolds between the sticks – as a sign that Germany are coming into this week in Chiswick slightly under-prepared. Eileen Hoffman scored Germany’s goal in the 30th minute with a deflection on a shot from open play.

On the debit side, GB two heaviest goalscorers in recent years – forward Alex Danson and corner flicking full-back Crista Cullen – are absent injured for this tournament. But it’s time to dig in and make the Saturday semi finals of GB’s last tournament before the London 2012 Olympics.

If GB do secure a two-goal win, South Africa, guaranteed semi-finalists already, will top the pool and world number three Germany will miss out. Over on the other side of the draw world number one Netherlands play Ireland today and any sort of result for the Irish will be seen as a major upset, let alone the three goal goal win Ireland would need to make the semis at the expense of the Dutch. Australia are already through. 

With a few honourable exceptions – Emma Clarke, Nicola Daly and 50th cap Emma Gray in goal – Ireland looked thoroughly outclassed in losing 4-1 to Australia yesterday. Daly scored Ireland’s consolation goal in the 55th minute. Fiona Boyce (FG, 3) Emily Smith (FG, 10) and Jodie Schultz (PC, 19) put the Hockeyroos well ahead and setting the cruise control. The excellent Casey Eastham added a fourth, from open play, in the 48th minute.

Ireland play the Netherlands at 5.30pm, today (Thursday); GB play Germany at 8pm. Tickets are on the door at £15 and £5, University of Westminster Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground, Hartington Road, London, W4 3UH. 

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