Two injured as GB women beat Argentina in bruising hockey final


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The Independent Online

Two key Great Britain players suffered painful injuries – one ending the match on crutches – as the home side defeated the World Cup champions Argentina 2-0 in a bruising final to the Olympic women's hockey test tournament at the Riverbank Arena in London yesterday.

The Leicester defender Crista Cullen, who scored both yesterday's goals, and the striker Alex Danson, who left the pitch in tears, were both injured at the end of a week in which the Argentina men's captain had appeared in a TV advert, training on a war memorial on the Falklands.

The women's Sunday scoreline, which echoed that of the previous day in the final pool match against the Argentines, came via to two second-half penalty corners converted by Cullen. She failed to finish the game, however, limping off with an injured ankle and appearing at the trophy presentation on crutches. Danson had her match prematurely ended when she suffered a shoulder injury after a collision with an Argentine defender.

The British coach, Danny Kerry, criticised the umpires for failing to clamp down on the robust approach of the Argentina team.

"There was stuff going on out there today which I think, if you play, watch, or coach hockey a lot, you would know exactly what was going on," Kerry said. "High-performance teams spend a lot of time looking at videos, having criteria by which we judge things, and I think officiating has to match that. The umpires have to understand what is going on. I have probably already said too much, but that is how I feel about the game."

With the Olympic squad to be named on 18 May, the injuries are an obvious worry for Team GB.

* While the British women's hockey team triumphed on the pitch, it was Argentina's ambassador to Britain who scored points off it, warning relations with South America could falter if the UK Government refuses to hand over the Falkland Islands. Alicia Castro also told Sky News that an advert depicting an Argentina athlete using a war memorial on the islands to do step-ups was not designed to upset relations between the two countries.

In a sarcastic sideswipe at the British Government, the ambassador added: "We are very happy having this colonial enclave in the south of our country. It's not an Argentinian cause, it's a regional cause."