Hall is doubtful for opener with hosts

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The Independent Online

Great Britain begin their Olympic qualifying campaign here this morning when they play the host nation, Japan, in the opening game in the Nagai Stadium. Although Britain are drawn in the easier of the two pools they will still need to get off to a good start. With just six teams certain to qualify, it is important to finish in the top two positions in each pool so as to avoid the 5th/6th places sudden death cross-over games.

Great Britain begin their Olympic qualifying campaign here this morning when they play the host nation, Japan, in the opening game in the Nagai Stadium. Although Britain are drawn in the easier of the two pools they will still need to get off to a good start. With just six teams certain to qualify, it is important to finish in the top two positions in each pool so as to avoid the 5th/6th places sudden death cross-over games.

Danny Hall, who has been suffering from gastro-enteritis, trained yesterday but is unlikely to be in the line-up. There are no other injury problems. While six of the squad survive from the Atlanta Olympics there is little doubt that Britain will miss Russell Garcia, who was suspended for a doping offence during the build-up, while Brett Garrard and Justin Pidcock are missing through injury. The 35-year-old Welshman David Hacker, the only non-English player in the squad, will have a major role in midfield.

Little is known about the Japanese but Britain beat tomorrow's opponents, New Zealand, 2-0 in a three-match Test series last month. Britain play South Korea on Sunday, followed by Poland and Belgium.

GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD: J Wyatt (capt), M Pearn, S Mason, M Kochar (all Reading), M Johnson, A Humphrey, J Halls, B Sharpe, C Parnham (all Cannock), D Luckes, C Giles, S Head (Surbiton), D Hall, G Fordham (Guildford), T Bertram (Bournville), D Woods (Southgate), J Wallis (Teddington), D Hacker (Canterbury).

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