GB Hockey teams qualify for Tokyo
Great Britain 2: Howard (4', FG), Unsworth (7', FG)
Chile 1: Villagran (57', PC)
GB win 5-1 on aggregate.
Great Britain's women qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a professional 2-1 win over Chile in the second leg of their FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers.
Early goals from Tess Howard and Laura Unsworth made the outcome certain after Saturday's 3-0 win in the first leg, and Mark Hager's side put in a very secure display to earn the result they so craved.
After rebuilding under Hager, it has been a testing period for the women's programme in recent months, but they handled this occasion with aplomb and the result was never in doubt.
Now they will rest, recuperate and begin to look forward a hugely exciting 2020; first of all with the FIH Pro League back in London and then the huge occasion that is the Olympic games.
Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said, “It’s obviously been a massive aim of ours to qualify for the Olympics for quite some time. I’m really pleased and proud of the whole squad. Since the Europeans we’ve had a massive block over the past six to eight weeks and we’ve made huge strides forwards which has been because of the squad and competition within it for places. Training has been a much higher standard because of that. We’ve got two weeks off now but when we get back in that’s when the hard work starts. All of us will be competing for a place now, there’s 16 seats on the plane to Tokyo which we know we’re going to, so the hard work starts now."
Great Britain: Hinch (GK), Toman, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (c), Unsworth, McCallin, Robertson, Howard, Owsley, Martin, Petter
Subs used: Townsend, Neal, Hunter, Costello, Watson, Wilkinson
Unused sub: Heesh (GK)
Great Britain 5: Forsyth (9', PS), (56', FG), (57', PS), Ward (11', FG), (31', PC)
Malaysia 2: Fitri Saari (24', PC), Rahim (35', PC)
GB win 9-3 on aggregate
Great Britain's men put in a super performance to reach the Tokyo Olympics, overcoming Malaysia in some style in London.
A hat-trick from Alan Forsyth and two more from fellow striker Sam Ward gave Britain a crucial win, and they fought very hard to secure a place in Japan.
Two early goals gave Britain the upper hand in the first quarter, and their spot on the plane always looked secure from then on in.
Skipper Adam Dixon said, “I’m not going to lie, it’s a massive sense of relief. There was a lot of pressure on these two games. Well before this block leading into these games, we knew that pressure and nerves would come into it, so we tried to tackle it head on and channel it. Nerves are only a human emotion, we took it on the chin and put two good performances in this weekend. To wrap it up with a ticket to Tokyo makes it even sweeter.
“We got off to a flyer, I never really felt totally confident until Aldo scored that final penalty stroke with four minutes to go, only then did I think that we’d sort of got it in the bag. Malaysia kept on coming and we knew that would be the case. I think we dug deep defensively, it was going to be a scrappy game at that point, we just had to make sure we didn’t make any silly errors and in large parts that’s exactly what we did."
Great Britain: Pinner (GK), Weir, Waller, Sanford, Dixon (c), Ames, Sorsby, Wallace, Roper, Forsyth, Ward
Subs: Willars, Gall, Calnan, Martin, Draper, Sloan
Unused sub: Gibson (GK)