Great Britain (3) vs. Chile (0)
12.00 Push Back
It’s day 2 of the Olympic Qualification process and the Great Britain and Chile ladies teams are warming up on the Lee Valley pitch. The hosts and reigning Olympic Champions come into this second game with a three goal advantage from yesterday afternoon. I’m expecting a win for GB, but if Chile can mix things up a bit from how they played yesterday, then they could cause a bit of a fuss.
In the second minute Manuela Urroz stays down after a collision with Hollie Pearne-Webb. When she gets up she’s walking off the pitch, holding her side. In the fourth minute, a move that pivots through the centre to the right wing, involving Lily Owsley, It’s centred into the circle, Tess Howard picks the ball up, finds space to turn and tucks it away neatly for the opening goal; GB 1 – 0 Chile.
Seven minutes into the game, there’s a loose ball in the circle, which the Chilean keeper kicks away, It’s collected by Laura Unsworth, who takes a touch and hits a reverse hit shot into the roof of the net. At quarter time, the score is GB 2 – 0 Malaysia.
Two and a half minutes into the second quarter, Hannah Martin drives at the Chilean full back. Unfortunately there’s contact and the umpire stops the game. Paula Infante comes off in tears, holding her shoulder. I’m told later that it’s a suspected broken collar bone. Shortly afterwards, Great Britain are on the attack again and win a short corner. Claudia Schuler saves down to her right and the second phase goes out for a long corner. Chile defend well and block out any attempts for the home team to come forward. Britain get another another shot after five minutes, after Unsworth sends the ball in from the right hand side. The ball is sent back to Hannah Martin outside the post, but she can’t get enough behind it and Chile clear their lines.
The Brits are keeping possesion well, I actually think that they are playing slightly better than yesterday – moving the ball around, trying to create angles. On ten minutes the Chilean captain Camila Caram is sin binned. Shortly after Martin collides with another player, this time Fernanda Flores. There’s a lot of medical staff running onto the pitch. It could be of concern here. She gets up tentatively and takes a rest off the side of the pitch. On nine minutes GB get a short, but it’s flicked over the bar. Soon after McCallin gets a green card. At the half time break, the score is GB 2 – 0 Chile.
In the third minute after the break, Hannah Martin is shown the green card. Great Britain maintain their high possession, breaking into the circle a few times. In the sixth minute, they get a short corner. The ball is slipped to Anna Toman, who shoots. There’s a few rebounds, but nothing that gets to the goal line. On eleven minutes Chile test Hinch in goal. The second phase is high and Chile get their first short corner of the match. Denise Krimerman shoots, HInch saves and the ball goes out for long corner for Chile and the game moves on.
Chile are mounting a few more attacks. Just as a colleague of mine in the media booth says that he would like to score a goal, they get one off a free hit in the attacking quarter. However, this is overturned, as Laurine Delforge sends the decision upstairs and it’s decided that the free hit hadn’t travelled the necessary five metres before entering the circle. Soon after Maria Maldonado is yellow carded. The score remains GB 2 – 0 Malaysia at three quarter time.
Five minutes into final period, Tess Howard drives at the defence and helps her team win yet another short corner. The ball is deflected wide by Schuler in the Chilean goal. Great Britain are dominating, getting a few circle entries and shots off, but nothing major. Chile get themselves forward and manage to win a short corner for themselves. The ball is slipped the ball left for Fernanda Villagran who puts it into the far post and the tourists will take something from this game. The home team make a video referral, saying that the ball hadn’t left the circle, but it had and the goal stands. The score is now GB 2 – 1 Chile. This is how it finishes. The aggregate score over the two games is Great Britain 5 – 1 Chile. The Latin Americans miss out on Olympic qualification, but the current champions will be heading to Tokyo, much to the joy the home fans.
After the match, I spoke to Chile’s captain Camilla Caram. She told me that, “it was a different game, it was a different day for us also. Yesterday we defended much more, now we tried going up and attacking and tried to find their weak spots and I think that we found them, but it wasn’t long enough and well they scored the first two goals and it was a little bit crushing.”
I also caught up with England and GB’s Tess Howard after the final whistle. She told me what the team had been working on recently… “We’ve been working so hard for the last six weeks to create flowing hockey and that is our game plan now to pass and move and create the goals. I think that’s the biggest change we’ve seen to the squad and we’re playing really well now.”