Great Britain women win Olympic Test Event
06 May 2012
Two goals from defender Crista Cullen helped Great Britain to a 2-0 victory over Argentina in the final of the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament - the Olympic Test Event in London.
A fourth consecutive clean sheet means that Great Britain have not lost a goal in 280 minutes of hockey at the Riverbank Arena on Olympic Park.
The victory was overshadowed by injuries sustained by Cullen and forward Alex Danson in the second half.
After a goalless first half Leicester's Cullen got the second half off to the best possible start as she fired home a low penalty corner, clocking up a milestone 50th international goal in the process.
And things got even better for GB five minutes later when Cullen doubled her tally, again from a penalty corner, propelled high into the net. In the process of scoring though, the 26 year old Beijing Olympian was caught by the onrushing Argentinean defender and left the field with a sprained right ankle.
Cullen was later joined on the bench for the remainder for the match by Reading's Alex Danson, who was hurt in a collision with an Argentina defender in the 53rd minute. Danson left the field clutching her left shoulder although the exact nature of her injury is unknown.
Speaking afterwards, Head Coach Danny Kerry said,
"Argentina were defensive today. They invite the opposition to come to them with the hope of achieving a breakaway. The challenge is to try and unpick that and we were able to unpick them in the second half."
Talking about the injuries to Cullen and Danson, Kerry added, "We still don't know how serious Alex's injury is but Crista should be ok."
In a rematch of Saturday's fixture Great Britain met world number two side and World Champions Argentina in the final of the Olympic Test Event. Three early Argentina penalty corners were well defended by the British back line before GB won a penalty corner of their own. Captain Kate Walsh's effort was cleared from the goal line before moments later Loughborough's Laura Unsworth's effort flew over the crossbar.
University of Birmingham's Susie Gilbert then came close to breaking the deadlock with a superb diving deflection, the quality of which was matched only by the low reflex save of Argentina goalkeeper Laura Del Colle.
That was as close as either side came to a goal but just three minutes into the second half Crista Cullen had the crowd on its feet with a well executed low penalty corner flick.
Argentina's response won them two penalty corners of their own, the second of which Great Britain referred to the video umpire who ruled in favour of the original decision. GB survived the corners and following good work by Danson upfield the hosts were awarded another penalty corner, which Cullen flicked high into the net.
As her teammates turned to celebrate, Cullen was lying prone on the iconic blue turf having been hit by the running defender. It was to be Cullen's last involvement in the match as she was helped from the pitch with a sprained ankle.
Mariela Scarone's yellow card for a series of fouls handed Great Britain a numerical advantage during which time Reading's Laura Bartlett threatened to add a third. The former Glasgow Western midfielder broke clear of the defence and released a shot which Del Colle kicked clear.
Then followed a moment of concern for the British bench as Alex Danson collided with an opponent, injuring her left shoulder in the process. Like Cullen, Danson left the field of play for treatment and did not play any further part in the match.
Having lost two players, Great Britain did well to thwart the threat of Argentina as the match wore on with defensive pairing of Kate Walsh and Emily Maguire making telling tackles and goalkeeper Beth Storry out quickly to smother at the feet of Martina Cavallero. Late on, Helen Richardson did well to hit the target from a narrow angle on her reverse but Del Colle was up to the task.
Goalkeeper Beth Storry, who did not concede a single goal in the tournament, said, "We played really well. The second half was good. We played out style of hockey and it was a positive way to finish the tournament. It's great to keep a clean sheet in all four games; it's great for us defensively."
She added, "Winning in front of the home crowd feels really great. The crowds were really amazing, cheering all the time, which lifted our spirits. It's a good sign for the Games."
In the day's early match, Korea beat China 3-2 to finish third in the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament.
Great Britain's athletes will now turn their attention toward Olympic squad selection on Friday 18 May before preparing for the Investec London Cup in Chiswick from 5-10 June.
Tickets for the six team tournament, which features GB, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, South Africa and Ireland, are still available from www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/investeclondoncup.
Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament Fixtures & Results
Wednesday 2 May 2012
11:00 Argentina v China: 3-0
13:15 Great Britain v Korea: 1-0
Thursday 3 May 2012
11:00 Argentina v Korea: 0-0
13:15 China v Great Britain: 0-3
Saturday 5 May 2012
09:30 China v Korea 1-2
11:45 Great Britain v Argentina 2-0
Sunday 6 May 2012
09:30 Bronze medal match - Korea v China 3-2
12:15 Final - Great Britain v Argentina 2-0
Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament Standings
1. Great Britain (winners)
GREAT BRITAIN TEAM v ARGENTINA
Beth Storry (Reading) [Goalkeeper]
Crista Cullen (Leicester) [Defender]
Emily Maguire (Reading) [Defender]
Laura Unsworth (Loughborough Students) [Defender]
Kate Walsh (Reading) [Defender]
Laura Bartlett (Reading) [Midfielder]
Alex Danson (Reading) [Forward]
Susie Gilbert (University of Birmingham) [Midfielder]
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Sarah Thomas (No Club) [Forward]
Nicola White (Slough) [Forward]
Anne Panter (Leicester) [Defender]
Natalie Seymour (EuroCanterbury) [Defender]
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Helen Richardson (Reading) [Midfielder]
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Did Not Play
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder]
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester) [Forward]