Slocombe's squad ready for revenge

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The Independent Online
Sue Slocombe, the Great Britain coach, says her team have a score to settle when they take on the Netherlands, the European champions, in today's play-off for the Olympic bronze medal.

Britain have not beaten the Dutch for seven years. "There isn't a lot to choose between both sides in terms of skill and technique, and I think they've both shown that they're coping well with the pressures of playing in the Olympics.

"They have several players we'll have to watch very carefully, but in the end I think it will come down to fitness and mental toughness.

"It's also essential to get shots on target because a lot of goalkeepers have proved to be vulnerable here. It doesn't help that they have to wear so much kit in the heat and humidity, and I believe that has affected their judgement."

Britain's goalkeeper, Hilary Rose, of Sutton Coldfield, is expected to have returned to full fitness after injuring a rib in Tuesday's 5-0 win against Argentina, and the return to form of striker Jane Sixsmith, who scored a hat-trick in the game, has given the squad confidence.

"We've had some ups and downs and it feels like we've been here an eternity," said the captain, Jill Atkins, one of eight players who were bronze medallists at Barcelona in 1992.

Slocombe, a university lecturer from Bristol, said she had not yet made a decision about her future. "I've been involved in the game as an international player and coach for 26 years, and reaching the medal stages here has been the highlight of my career," she said. "I shall consider the future when I return from holiday. There have been many, many lows and too few highs. But whatever the outcome of the match, I shall cherish the memories."

n Rahim Khan struck five minutes from the end to give Pakistan a 2-1 victory and send Britain tumbling further down the final rankings in Atlanta yesterday. Calum Giles had lifted Britain's hopes when he scored from a seventh-minute corner to notch his sixth goal in six matches in Atlanta. Britain can now finish no higher than seventh place.