Britain secure Olympic spot

BRITAIN lived dangerously in Barcelona yesterday, but got the win they needed to book their ticket to Atlanta. With one qualifying game still to come, they made sure of their place at the Olympic Games by beating Malaysia 3-2.

Rob Thompson snapped up a fourth-minute chance to open the scoring and, after a quick reply from Noor Saiful, goals from Calum Giles and Nick Thompson gave Britain a comfortable 3-1 lead at half-time. However there was a tense finish as the Malaysians staged a spirited second-half comeback, with Mirnawan Nawawi reducing the lead from a 63rd-minute penalty corner. Great Britain coach David Whitaker was a relieved man afterwards. "After a great first half we created pressure for ourselves," he said. "But the big thing is we got the result we needed to make sure of our place in the Olympics."

With one more round of matches to play, the victory guarantees Britain a place in the top five of the eight nations competing here. Their final placing will be determined after tomorrow's match against Belgium.

Britain got off to a flying start when John Shaw moved down the right to hammer the ball into the circle, giving Thompson time to choose his spot before slamming his shot home. There was a setback when a corner, carelessly conceded by Jon Wyatt, allowed Saiful to equalise from a penalty corner, but, in the 18th minute, Giles, also from a corner, put Britain back into the lead. Just before the interval Nick Thompson finished off a well-worked penalty corner to make it 3-1.

The Malaysians, under orders from their German coach Volker Knapp to take the game to Britain, started to cause problems in the second half but there were still chances at the other end, with Thompson twice going close to increasing the lead. The second half was punctuated by temporary suspensions for bad tackles, with Britain's Soma Singh and Shaw receiving yellow cards and Malaysia's Nawawi also leaving the field.

Britain failed to win any second-half corners, denying Giles the chance to add to his six goals in Barcelona, but the lively Malaysians forced three. A third corner yielded their second goal, in the 63rd minute, when Nawawi squeezed his shot between David Luckes' pads and the post.

"We won, we're in Atlanta and now the real work starts," a delighted Whitaker said. "It's a tough tournament, with seven games in 10 days, and the boys have come through it magnificently. I'm proud of them."

Belgium's bid to qualify ended in failure after a 4-2 defeat by eight- times Olympic champions India, with veteran captain Pargat Singh scoring a hat-trick of corner goals. Joeri Beunen scored both Belgian replies from corners.

Canada kept up their challenge for a qualifying place with a spirited 3-3 draw against Spain, who have already booked their place in Atlanta. Canada trail Malaysia by two points and now hope Malaysia suffer their customary defeat at India's hands tomorrow before they play their own final match against Belarus, who are bottom of the rankings.

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial