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Ben Hawes: Keep calm and carry on

[img_assist|nid=5181|title=Ben Hawes|desc=If we play attacking hockey the crowd gets behind us says the 32-year-old GB defender|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=145]LONDON, August 6 – Three-time hockey Olympian Ben Hawes puts down the GB team’s comeback from three goals behind against Australia to staying calm and following the team plan.

The world number one side and tournament favourites had GB on the ropes, taking a 3-0 lead six minutes into the second half. But Hawes said the team didn’t make the mistake of resorting to individual efforts, and they also managed to stay calm in the cauldron of the Riverbank Arena.

“It was absolutely a team effort. Our game was to impose ourselves on the Aussies. If you let them impose themselves, they take the defence apart and they roll teams over,” Hawes said.

“Being 3-0 down was unfortunate but what was a massive step forward for us is that we didn’t change our game. We played as a team. There is no doubt in the past we might have been guilty of looking to individuals when we have been under the cosh. But today we played as eleven guys the whole time on the pitch and we stuck to our game plan.

“And eventually we proved that if you have a go at Australia at the back, they are not that all strong. If we want to win this tournament we have to have a go at teams. Fingers crossed we play Australia again and it will be for a medal. It’s a testament to us come back – maybe not give them a three goal lead next time!

“We were actually pretty calm the whole time. The atmosphere is amazing and in the second half it lifted us. But I though we played with pretty calm heads and stayed toe-to-toe with Australia which they didn’t like,” Hawes said.

The game didn’t have a promising start for GB with Russell Ford scoring two relatively soft goals in the opening 11 minutes.

“The goals were diisappointing. We’ll have to look at the video. They looked like they were just a lack of concentration on the quick free hits and they got behind us. You just can’t switch off at all in international hockey,” Hawes said.

“On the plus side, if they were little individual errors they are things we can improve on quickly. I don’t think there is anything drastic there with the team structure or tactically. With those errors we can look at the video and try and improve on them for the next game.”

The result wasn’t decisive for the group and GB now face a difficult final pool game against Spain (7pm Tuesday). The point does however keep them in second place in pool A, one ahead of Spain and Pakistan. Pakistan play Australia at 10.45am on Tuesday.

“The next game is like a quarter final. We have to go out there, have the belief, play attacking hockey, have the crowd on our side, and impose ourselves,” Hawes said.

“One thing we have been saying is that if we play attacking hockey the crowd get behind us. Even when we were two-nil down tonight, when we attacked we got a big roar. And we have to keep doing that.

“If we go on the back foot we are going to struggle and it is going to be a battle. We are playing some great hockey when we are going forward. We just have to cut out some individual errors, be strong, and hopefully get that place in the semi-final,” Hawes said.

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