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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style