Hockey: GB 'bitterly disappointed' by defeat to Argentina

Great Britain 1 Argentina 2

Riverbank Arena

They had all talked, heading into the tournament, of a “gold-medal” mentality – trusting in each other and fearing no-one – but the Great Britain women's hockey team could not muster these qualities as Argentina proved the impediment last night to them progressing beyond their previous best Olympic bronze. Their captain and coach were both close to tears at their press conference afterwards.

A bronze medal is still within their grasp on tomorrow, against the New Zealand side whose defeat on penalties to the Netherlands means the world's top two nations have reached the final. There are also grounds for optimism, whatever the outcome. The women's game's development, building up towards the Olympics, has helped attract seven-figure corporate sponsorship and a substantial number of new players at grass roots, to what has been one of the surprise hits of these games. But none of that will be of consolation to a group who believed they would go a step further than Jane Sixsmith's squad of '92. They will curse the umpiring decision which saw the Argentines advance to 2-0 lead just before half time, though the outcome was just.

Video analysis might have been another of the improvements in the British set-up since £15m was allocated over four years after the Beijing Olympics, but no amount of time spent scrutinising opposition at Bisham Abbey could prepare the home side for Luciana Aymar, who demonstrated last night that Lionel Messi is not the only sporting genius to hail from Rosario. Aymar made perhaps the most telling contribution, though Britain sealed their own fate, too. Their final delivery into the circle was lacking and on the whole they lacked finesse in possession.

They certainly needed those qualities because after Argentina scored with their first attack of the match - the ball landing on Georgie Twigg's foot to concede a short corner which Noel Barrionuevo seized on to convert - they displayed hockey's equivalent of parking the bus. "I felt Argentina were defending and not offering much other than that," the Great Britain coach, Danny Kerry, reflected. Britain also faced a familiar problem in this tournament – three defenders grouped around Alex Danson, their most potent threat by some distance. It took the very best of Danson – pivoting to reverse an yielding near-post shot wide at a narrow near-post angle, even while she was being pushed from behind – to elicit even a scent of hope for a raucous home crowd, which included the Duchess of Cambridge.

Argentina's second goal revealed Rosario Luchetti at her own imperious best, bundled to the floor by British keeper Elizabeth Storry but still displaying the dexterity to find two further touches and navigate the ball in from an unfeasibly difficult angle on the byline. Britain felt they had the right to a video referral for an infringement in that build-up, though incidents outside the 23-yard area cannot be referred. "This was the biggest day in sport in for four years and biggest audience in four years and [yet] people are confused," Kerry said. "The law is written that we could not use a video referral. It is an absurd rule."

His team still had chances. It was Helen Richardson, just the player you would want to be presented with an unchallenged shot in space from five yards, who scuffed one – criminally. Danson raised hopes by converting a cross to score with five minutes to play, though prospects always felt bleak. Kerry professed himself "overwhelmed" and feeling "bitter, bitter disappointment" though much may still hinge on his players. The target GB Hockey committed to, in securing its £15m funding three years ago, was one or two medals at these Games. "We will use the hurt and turn it into a really thorough performance," Derry promised for the the bronze-medal game tomorrow.

GB Hockey is acutely aware of how the sport was not ready to seize the opportunity presented when Sean Kerly inspired the men to gold in Seoul in 1988. This time its push has accompanied the preparation for an Olympics, rather than await its conclusion. A major boost to the sport's attempts to be ready for an uplift from the Olympics was securing, 12 months ago, of Investec's sponsorship of the women's team and other aspects of the game.

It has raised the Kerry's squad's profile, too. They were official guests at racing's Derby, which Investec also sponsors. They met the Queen there, featured in advertising campaigns and felt the benefits of being at the core of hockey's marketing as a sophisticated sport, open to women. All of which added to the sense of emptiness they were left with last night.

Painful exit for Glynn and New Zealand

The Netherlands team start to celebrate at the Riverbank Arena yesterday after dramatically beating New Zealand 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out to reach tomorrow's final in the women's hockey. It was a painful occasion in more ways than one for the Kiwis' Katie Glynn, whose side twice took the lead but were held 2-2. The striker was accidentally hit in the head by Ellen Hoog's stick and had to be led off the field with a deep cut before returning sporting a thick bandage. To add insult to injury, Hoog scored the winning penalty.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker