Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Olympics hockey: Liam Ansell double keeps Great Britain unbeaten

Two games against part-timers, now for the European blockbusters.

Great Britain men notched their second 3-1 win, this time over Canada, as they set about preparing for Germany in relative style.

A Liam Ansell brace, his third goal in two games, and another Sam Ward penalty corner proved enough, either side of a fine backhander from Floris van Son.

Following his breakthrough tournament at the 2018 World Cup where he showed his direct running strength and pace and shot, Ansell endured an injury-prone 2019. Now, with a run at international level, he is once again showing his form as a world-class attacker.

Ansell, who made his GB debut in 2017, said: “It was a big three points for us. We knew coming into this game we wanted to leave a mark on the game and dominate the ball, keep a lot of possession and make them run – and hopefully by the end of the game that would tire them out and allow us to score those goals.”

A goalless first half, coupled with some fine glove work from Antoni Kindler and Danny Kerry’s side hitting the crossbar and post, left GB searching for the opening.

It came in the third quarter as Ansell forced home from close range after a Ward assist. Ward – GB had six in total – then converted low from a PC.

With five minutes remaining and van Son’s goal keeping the match open, Ansell deflected home from Phil Roper’s shot.

“In these tournaments, games come thick and fast – there’s always another game the next day, so we’re straight into recovery and prepping for Germany now,” added Roper.

“We’ve had a great block of training into this, we performed well in tournaments leading up to this, so we’ve got the confidence and the self-belief. It’s just about delivering on the pitch now.

“It’s why we play the sport – we want to test ourselves against the best and I’m looking forward to it.”

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