Hockey: Heberle is 'devastated' by Britain's Olympic failure

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The Independent Online

The post-mortem has already begun on the failure of the Great Britain women to qualify for Athens after their 2-0 defeat by South Korea in the qualifying tournament in Auckland yesterday ended the Olympic dreams of the pre-tournament favourites, writes Bill Collwill.

The post-mortem has already begun on the failure of the Great Britain women to qualify for Athens after their 2-0 defeat by South Korea in the qualifying tournament in Auckland yesterday ended the Olympic dreams of the pre-tournament favourites, writes Bill Collwill.

Despite huge Lottery investment, Britain will miss the Olympics for the first time since Los Angeles in 1984. Britain's Australian coach, Tricia Heberle, said: "I am devastated. In my time as GB coach and also with England I never imagined that we wouldn't go to the Olympics. To say I'm hugely disappointed is a massive understatement."

Britain started well against South Korea, but could not turn possession into chances, and it was South Korea who took the lead in the 19th minute through Jin-Kyoung Kim against the run of play. Moments later a goalline save by Crista Cullen denied the Koreans, but Britain fell further behind on 29 minutes when Jeong-Sook Park added the second after a fast counter attack.

Britain pressed forward after the interval and came close when Rhona Simpson's deflected shot from close range hit the crossbar, but South Korea defended resolutely and the game ended with the British players inconsolable. They now play Ireland for seventh place.

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