Lee Valley — A clinical last 10 minutes saw Germany leapfrog Great Britain in the FIH Pro League standings after an end-to-end game, reports Simon Beasley.
Final quarter goals from Benedetta Wenzel and Paulina Heinze took the game away from the hosts, as Die Danas ramped up selection for this summer’s EuroHockey.
In a first quarter that saw Germany come out the blocks quicker and break into the GB circle several times, Amy Tennant was untested in the Great Britain goal. GB fought back into the game through some strong running from Alex Malzer down the right flank, their best chance falling to defender Laura Roper who managed to test Julia Sonntag in the German net.
Germany replicated the start they made in the first quarter, using the left flank to enter the GB circle. The first penalty comer came early in the second, with Hannah Martin missing the ball in tackle and falling into the German attack. Germany used their video referral which was upheld as the ball stuck Darcy Bourne’s foot.
Strong running from Malzer and Bourne then got Great Britain back into the German circle but neither team were able to break the deadlock.
Germany switched it up in the second half, attacking Great Britain’s right-hand side of the defence. They thought they had broken the deadlock and beaten Tennant in the Great Britain goal, but a video referral found that the ball had hit the body of the attacker before being put in the goal.
Great Britain managed to build some sustained pressure in the German half towards the end of the third quarter, with Martin breaking into the circle and Sarah Robertson getting a backhand to shoot over the German crossbar.
Great Britain went on the attack from the off in the final quarter but Germany broke the deadlock with 10 minutes to go when Wenzel tapped in at the back post.
They then put the game to bed after a fine break from halfway to the edge of the circle and a pass finding Heinze with four minutes left and finishing brilliantly.
Great Britain defender Roper said key moments had let the side down. “It comes to tiny moments in the game which we might have switched off which they capitalised on,” she said. “On the whole, we are much happier with the performance we put in compared to two weeks ago, but it’s just about staying switched on for 60 minutes.”
Head coach David Ralph selected some younger names in his matchday squad, with Tess Howard and Lily Owsley missing.
“No, it’s still me keeping the average high,” joked Roper. “It shows the youngsters deserve their spot in the team and they played really well today.”
It is a massive year ahead with England competing in the EuroHockey and Great Britain competing in the 2024 Olympics next summer. Roper, set for her fourth Olympics, is insistent the younger players have a massive part to play.
“They are the mainstay of our squad, they keep me on my toes and keep me pushing. There are some excellent players within the squad and the next two years are looking promising for Great Britain Hockey.”