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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific