Great Britain let down by finishing

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The Independent Online
Hockey

Great Britain 1 Germany 2

Germany, the defending Olympic Champions, with eight of their Barcelona gold medallists in their team, gave Great Britain a lesson at taking chances here yesterday when they won a closely contested game which highlighted Britain's lack of menace in the final attacking third of the pitch.

With the Britain Olympic squad due to be announced tomorrow, it was not surprising that there was a nervous start, with Simon Hazlitt, Phil McGuire and Julian Halls all looking to confirm their recovery from injuries and Guildford's Danny Hall making a late claim for one of the striking positions.

The Germans, who only flew in a few hours before the game, were quicker to settle, although the first real chance of the game fell to Chris Mayer when he received a gem of a long ball from his club-mate, Kalbir Takher. The first time the German attacking team came into play was a quick break down the right by Christian Mayerhof, with a diving Oliver Domke just failing to get his shot on target.

With the Germans in control their first penalty corner came in the 14th minute. A powerful drive from Bjorn Gerke hit the upright and in the ensuing melee a second corner was awarded. As Gerke shot, Soma Singh moved across in front of the goalkeeper, David Luckes, to intercept, but mishit his clearance to Bjorn Emmerling, who scored with ease.

After the interval the Germans remained in control, although Hall looked dangerous a couple of times on the break without ever getting past the majestic Christian Blunck, who was subsequently named player of the match.

A tiring British defence conceded a second goal in the 66th minute as Michael Waldhauser latched on to a pass from Gerke and, catching the defence square, gave Luckes little chance from the edge of the circle.

Forcing a penalty corner a minute later, Britain scored their consolation. When John Shaw failed to stop the ball Calum Giles retrieved the situation to pass to Shaw to score with a well-placed shot.

Britain's new coach Jon Copp was disappointed not to have come away with a win, feeling that they had created enough chances but admitting that their finishing lacked penetration.

GREAT BRITAIN: D Luckes (East Grinstead); J Wyatt (Reading), Soma Singh (Southgate); P McGuire (Teddington), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), S Hazlitt (Hounslow); D Hall (Guildford), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), R Thompson (Hounslow, capt), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians), C Mayer (Cannock). Substitutes used: J Halls (Old Loughtonians), C Giles (Havant), J Shaw (Southgate), J Lee (Old Loughtonians).

GERMANY: C Reitz; C Blunck (capt); C Stengler, V Fried, M Green; C Mayerhof, B Gerke, B Emmerling; B Michel, O Domke, C Bechmann. Substitutes used: F Gemmrig, M Waldhauser, B Michel, P Streich.

Umpires: M Gruson, G Perez (both France).

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