Argentina bar the way for Britain

Great Britain will play Argentina tomorrow for a place in the Sydney Olympics following yesterday's final pool games in the Olympic qualifying tournament here in Japan.

Great Britain will play Argentina tomorrow for a place in the Sydney Olympics following yesterday's final pool games in the Olympic qualifying tournament here in Japan.

Having completed their pool games Britain could have finished with a semi-final place and automatic qualification. Instead, Poland beat New Zealand 2-1, edging Britain into third place, and then they slipped further down the pool table when Japan overcame a two-goal deficit against Belgium to move ahead of Britain on goal difference.

In the other pool Argentina came from behind to beat Pakistan 4-3 in a controversial game that hinged on a penalty stroke decision when the Korean umpire, after making what appeared to be a correct decision, changed his mind to deny Pakistan an equaliser at 3-3.

Two goals from Krzysztof Wybieralski allowed Poland to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since Munich in 1972, although they did participate in the 1980 Moscow Games following the Western boycott. New Zealand's last chance of qualifying evaporated when the experienced Ryan Archibald had a penalty stroke saved just after they equalised.

Belgium started well against Japan with a goal from Alexandre de Chaffoy that gave them the chance to play their natural attacking hockey. A second came after eight minutes before they slipped back into defensive mode to give the Japanese a deserved 3-3 draw. Japan now face Malaysia for a place in Sydney.

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