Hockey: Great Britain coach dares to dream after win over Pakistan

 

Great Britain coach Jason Lee could last night begin to contemplate “shooting for the stars” – meaning qualification for the men’s hockey semi finals – declaring after a comfortable 4-1 win over Pakistan that progress was in his own side’s gift, despite the brooding presence of world champions Australia, on Sunday.

“It’s in our destiny. I don’t think I’m worried about topping the group. Top two will do nicely,” Lee said and the prime reason for his optimism was the player whom every hockey buff will tell you is the player of this tournament so far. Ashley Jackson, whose penalty corner flicks and a breathtaking piece of goal creation cut Pakistan to pieces, is not generally bigged up by his coach. “I’ve seen him play better. He tends to play better when the team is better,” Lee said of his number 7. “He is someone who will be scoring goals throughout this tournament and his career. Long may it continue!"

But Jackson’s goals at the at the Riverbank Arena revealed his pre-eminence in the world game as a corner flicker. Historically, many of the game's finest  corner flickers have had to be hidden in teams because they have nothing else to offer but while Jackson has mastered this specialist position with a very unusual technique, powering the ball through his wrists, he delivers other qualities. The breathtaking run which set up James Tindall reverse stick opener, in four minutes, proved the point. Jackson was also involved in the build up to Jonty Clarke’s 26th minute strike and contributed his punishing flicked strikes  after the break.

 World champions Australia’s surprising 2-2 draw with Argentina yesterday gives Britain encouragement. “They had 27 shots and they scored one,” Lee said of a side whose match intensity is on a another level. “Australia often have funny, odd games and they have had one today.” Defeat on Sunday may leave Lee requiring a win in their last game, against unfancied Spain, if the Pakistanis beat South Africa in their own penultimate game.

Pakistan were poor, offering minimal trouble to goalkeeper James Fair who produced a fine double save from two successive Sohail Abbas corner flicks. Their general manager insisted that they are not done yet: “The tournament is still open, it’s not closed."

But Abbas sees something striking in Lee’s side. “They have changed a lot. You see this team has totally changed. They are playing like a champion team. The name of GB hockey is coming up. I've played hockey against them for 14 years so I have seen a lot.”

  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence