Sixsmith inspires adventurous Britain

Argentina 0 Great Britain 5
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The Independent Online
Inspired by three goals from Jane Sixsmith, the British women's team moved to within reach of a bronze medal here yesterday and at the same time upstaged their British male counterparts whose defensiveness had cost them a similar opportunity.

Apart from a short period early in the second half, Britain were always dominant, with Sixsmith particularly sharp at the front and the defence and midfield eager to move upfield in support. Sixsmith said: "I've had a tough couple of years, not scoring very much and trying to live up to my past reputation, but I've come into form at the right time." The proof of that was that she had never before scored a hat-trick in a major competition.

Britain emerged as potential medal winners with a fine comeback against Germany on Sunday after being 2-0 down but winning 3-2. The coach, Sue Slocombe, had told them to take risks then, and yesterday she said much the same, insisting that they all believed they were part of an attacking strategy. The plan worked superbly.

Although at first they misplaced a lot of passes, an eighth minute goal was sharply created by Anna Bennett, whose clever pass across the defence allowed Mandy Nicholls to score. Once Sixsmith and Nicholls had begun to run hard at the Argentine defenders the scoring opportunities greatly increased with the count of penalty corners heavily in their favour.

It was from a penalty corner that Sixsmith scored her first goal. Kathryn Johnson's shot had been saved by Mariana Arnal in the Argentine goal but Sixsmith devoured the rebound.

Although two ahead and commanding, with some exciting stick control, Britain could have been disturbed when their goalkeeper, Hilary Rose, had to go off after bruising her ribs. As it was, her substitute, Joanne Thompson, was equally reliable and Britain guaranteed their victory when, towards the end of the second half, a shot from Sixsmith was deflected in off the Argentine goalkeeper.

With Argentina conceding ever more penalty corners, Sixsmith was able to turn the last 10 minutes into a rout. Sue Fraser blasted a shot that Sixsmith turned in, and Nicholls added the final insult to Argentina's morale when, with three minutes left, she drove a shot between the legs of Arnal.

GREAT BRITAIN: H Rose; K Brown, J Atkins, K Johnson; S Fraser, P Robertson, M Davies; J Sixsmith, M Nicholls, C Miller, A Bennett. Substitutes used: J Thompson, C Cook, C Cullen, R Simpson, J Mould.

ARGENTINA: M Arnal; S Mackenzie, M Aicega, S Corvalan; A Gambero, J Castellan, M Gonzalez, G Sanchez; J Rimoldi Puig, K Masotta, V Oneto. Substitutes used: M Castelli.

Umpires: P Buckley (Aus), R Chatas (US).

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