[img_assist|nid=3934|title=In control|desc=Germany’s Nina Hasselmann is challenged by Great Britain’s Anne Panter – Ady Kerry|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=144]Great Britain’s lack of firepower upfront cost them a place in the semi finals of the Investec London Cup despite an otherwise impressive performance against Germany on Thursday night.
A string of first-half penalty corner and open-play chances for the home side delivered nothing, Then the German’s stunned a decent crowd at Chiswick with two goals in two minutes to all but end GB’s semi-final hopes.
With GB needing a two goal win to progress, the strikes from Janine Beermann and Hannah Kruger in the 28th and 29th minutes could have taken the air out of the tyres. But, if anything GB played even better in the second half.
Chloe Rogers had one of the best games we’ve seen her play for GB or England and Helen Richardson put in her usual massive shift. Laura Unsworth continued her growth as ‘mini-Kate’ at the heart of defence in the absence of injured skipper Kate Walsh. It was impressive all round the field apart from in front of goal.
Waves of GB attacks went unrewarded through a mixture of good defending and goalkeeping (from Yvonne Frank between the posts), unadventurous corners and a lack of polish at key moments in the circle.
The absence of corner flicker Crista Cullen, and key forward Alex Danson, both injured but named in Team GB’s Olympic squad, together with alternate corner striker Walsh, has highlighted Push’s one concern about an otherwise excellent side – lack of goals.
Midfielder Sarah Thomas, also injured, is another key absentee for the London Cup – she is another expected to be fit for London 2012. All sides here are keeping something back when it comes to tactics, and corners in particular. So it’s harsh to be critical of GB’s ‘route one’ corner smashes mainly from the hard-hitting Emily Maguire. There are other clubs in the bag, definitely. And while coach Danny Kerry doesn’t see this result as affecting Olympic preparation ‘”a jot”. I for one was quite hoping to see another couple of games against Olympic-qualified sides.
Kerry rated his level of concern about the finishing in open play as “three out of ten”.
“I think if we weren’t generating chances I’d be gravely concerned. But we are generating chances and there are some pleasing things about the type of chances we are making.”
“We can spend time working on that because we are where we need to be in our preparation,” he said.
Germany were delighted. “We are very happy with the win. I’m happy we don’t have to play an early morning match – I can sleep a little bit longer,” joked Germany coach Michael Behrmann at the expense of GB’s 10.30am start in the 5/6th match versus Ireland on Sunday. He wasn’t so happy at how well Germany had played under sustained pressure during the second half.
Skipper Fanny Rinne said: “Great Britain created too many corners. That is something we have to work on because they will work on their corners. I’m proud of my team. In the end we were lucky and are happy we won.”
GB’s sustained attack eventually resulted in a close-in finish for Hannah Macleod in the 59th minute after good work from Rogers and Susie Gilbert. That goal ensured a helter-skelter final ten minutes, but the game proved out of reach.
In day three’s other game the Ducth showed the way to the back of the net, inflicting a 5-0 defeat on Ireland. A Kelly Jonker hat-trick and goals from Ellen Hoog and Marilyn Agliotti did the damage. Ireland looked reasonably competitive for much of the game and didn’t concede until Jonkers netted in the 32nd minute. Two games in two days counted against the Irish however, with the Dutch flying home in the second half in a game where they rested their influential captian and corner ace Maartje Paumen.
Investec London Cup Semi Finals – Saturday June 9
14:30 – Semi Final 1: Netherlands v South Africa
17:00 – Semi Final 2: Germany v Australia
Investec London Cup Finals Day – Sunday June 10
10:30 – Great Britain v Ireland
13:15 – Bronze medal match
16:00 – Gold medal match