Needle on the cards as GB hockey men play Argentina first

 

Great Britain's men will begin their Olympic hockey campaign against Argentina. The high-profile opener will come just weeks after a controversial advert showing Argentina's former captain training on the steps of a British war memorial in the Falklands was condemned by the International Olympic Committee.

Britain, ranked fourth in the world, have also been drawn in Pool A with Australia, the world's No 1 side, Spain, Pakistan and South Africa, but it is the opening game that will draw most attention. It will be played under floodlights on 30 July, the first Monday of the Games.

Earlier this month an advert featuring Fernando Zylberberg showed the defender running past various landmarks around the Falkland Islands, including the memorial to islanders who died in the First World War. The tagline for the ad read "To compete on English soil, we train on Argentinian soil."

Argentina's Olympic Committee sought to distance itself from the ad, but it was "applauded" by Cristina Kirchner, the country's president. The IOC criticised its showing, saying in a statement: "The Games should not be a forum to raise political issues."

The two teams are already scheduled to play each other on Monday in Malaysia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, with Argentina having left Zylberberg out of the squad for the seven-team tournament. The Argentina coach, Pablo Rossi, put the absence of Zylberberg, who has played at two previous Olympics and used to captain the side, down to "sporting reasons". Barring injury to another player, Zylberberg is now unlikely to feature in the squad for London.

Britain's men have realistic medal prospects and will be expected to beat Argentina, who are ranked No 9. Britain's women, who beat Argentina, the world champions, at the London test event earlier this month, have an even better chance – they are considered gold medal contenders and have been drawn with Netherlands, China, Korea, Japan and Belgium.

Hockey tickets are among those on offer from 11am today, when all those remaining for the Games go on general sale. While all athletics, swimming and cycling have sold out, there are £50 tickets on offer for Tom Daley's diving events.

Olympic news you may have missed...

Blanka Vlasic, one of the world's leading high jumpers and silver medallist in Beijing four years ago, may miss the Games because of health problems. The 28-year-old who holds the second-best jump of all time with 2.08m, had surgery on her left ankle and heel this year, but the recovery was complicated by a bacterial infection. "This whole season – particularly London – is in question," Vlasic said. "I will [decide] a day before the Olympics."

The badminton world No 1 Lee Chong Wei's participation in the Olympics is in doubt after he limped out of a Thomas Cup match with a damaged ankle. The 29-year-old Malaysian won silver in 2008.

What's coming up...

Who's up?

Andrew Baggaley British table tennis player hopes to draw on home support at the Games after winning two golds at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. "The support was massive," he said. "It really does help when you are playing in front of that."

Who's down?

Hollie Avil British triathlete has retired after battling with eat-ing disorder. "My health and happiness was at risk," said Avil, who competed in Beijing in 2008. "Life is too short."

Darius Knight Twenty-year-old has been overlooked for Britain's table tennis squad, despite moving to Austria in search of more funding.

What's coming up...

Friday-Sunday Great Britain travel to Lucerne in Switzerland for the second World Cup meet of the year. The regatta is the final Olympic qualifying event. Keep an eye out for the men's four, who won in the first event earlier this month.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment