Britain secure Olympic spot
Sunday 28 January 1996
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.
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Only 132 pubs in the United Kingdom will show the fight - so where can you watch it?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...