|August 7th, 2012|
|29||Pool A||7:00pm||ESP - GBR||1 - 1 (0 - 1)||Final|
Great Britain became the fourth men’s semi-finalist at the expense of Spain in one of the most dramatic manners possible, overcoming a heart-stopping final minute of play. Needing only a draw to progress, the hosts were locked at 1-1 when Spain were twice awarded penalty corners only from umpire conferrals saw the decisions rightly over-turned, allowing GB to hold on for the result.
It left Spain distraught after a sterling fightback after Britain had held the upper hand for much of the first 55 minutes, taking the lead from Ashley Jackson’s fifth goal of the competition. But when Pau Quemada pulled his side level 15 minutes from time, it set up a grandstand finish that set the home hearts racing.
Jackson’s 33rd minute penalty corner gave Great Britain the first half ascendancy when Ramon Alegre conceded a soft penalty corner. Jackson drove low for his fifth goal of the tournament, taking a small nick en route to the backboard. Otherwise, it was an intense, physical tussle with both Pau Quemada and Edi Tubau green carded. It made for a tight, tentative affair but there was enough guile to carve out decent opportunities.
The first fell to Jackson off the back of James Tindall’s drag-flick but the British talisman’s snap-shot clattered only the outside of the goal. In response, Quemada and Tubau were putting in a huge stint while an innovative penalty corner saw James Fair in trouble, saved only by Iain Lewers diving clearance. Tindall and Martin tested Francisco Cortes a couple more times but Jackson’s drive remained the only difference between the sides at the break.
Spain, though, transformed from a placid half-press to a much higher press and almost instantly drew dividends when Tubau robbed Richard Smith’s loose pass. Fair blocked well, the first of a series of significant saves in the half. GB could have been out of sight in the 53rd minute from a manic third penalty corner, Tindall bunting the ball off the crossbar while Barry Middleton and Jackson also had digs.
Within a minute, the momentum had shifted as Quemada found a low and true route past Fair and, from there, their need for the three points was accompanied by an all-out surge, winning a couple of corners before the controversial final minute. The stoppages dragged it out but GB held on and are now looking forward to a semi-final date with the Netherlands while Spain are destined for the fifth place play-off.
On a day of milestones, David Alegre played his 200th cap, Matt Daly his 150th; Iain Mackay in his 100th game and Iain Lewers lined out for GB for a 50th time.
James TINDALL (GBR)
On the match: "We've played well through the tournament and tonight we carried on against a good Spanish team, and fortunately we came through once again. The crowd lifted us at the right times and the right moments."
"In my opinion we've got one of the best goalies (James Fair) in the world and at the end he showed as much. When you look at the dedication of someone like Ben Hawes, who is throwing himself head first into tackles and he has had countless surgeries and a plate in his face too, it shows the dedication that we need."
"When I hit the bar I thought things might not go our way for the evening but the crowd gave us a little boost and it was what we needed."
On winning a medal: "If we win the next game of hockey then we obviously win a medal. In a medal game anything can happen. They are one-off games, and we are confident on this pitch and we are confident with 16,000 people screaming us on."
Jason LEE (GBR) - coach
On the performance of his team in their draw against Spain: "I have had quite a Tuesday afternoon. As the game progressed we knew it would get pressured and nerve-wracking, but I think we just held out. Our quality for 50 minutes was strong and perhaps we would like to have taken the game away from Spain. With the expectation as to what we were about to achieve, we just had a few players that started to feel the nerves. It has been a long time since Great Britain have reached the semifinal and we knew it would be a bit of a fight to get there, but I'm proud of the players and we move onto the fun bit now."
Barry MIDDLETON (GBR) - captain
On making the semifinals: "It is quite nice. Being from Yorkshire, we tend to play these things down a bit, but it is amazing being through. There was a bit of nerves for the last 16 minutes and I think we put a few people through the wringer (made them nervous). In Athens (2004 Olympic Games) if you would have told us in eight years time we would be in the semifinals, we probably would have chuckled a bit. We probably thought it was one of those things for the Aussies, the Dutch and the Germans to do it all the time but I think, as we have gone through the process we have in the last few years, as athletes we start to believe that we can do this and we proved it again this week that we are ranked number four in the world for a reason. We don't talk about making a semifinal without backing it up because we are quite realistic about hockey in Britain and it is a pretty amazing feeling."
David ALEGRE (ESP)
On the loss of two of Spain's experienced players from the tournament due to injury: "Santiago (Freixa) and Pol (Amat) are still in touch with the team. They are sending messages and encouragment all the time. They are still feeling part of the team. Turning the terrible into the possible came through our strength. We all play with real strength right through the 70 minutes. We all believed we could beat Great Britain, that we could make it to the semis. That's how we are, we believed it, that's why we are so upset."
On Spain's style of play and Great Britain: "Although we play with passion and heart and aggression, we believe Great Britain do too. That's why we didn't change anything. We believe the play was equal, we had our chances but Great Britain had the finishing touches. It was within our grasp. At half-time our trainer (Daniel Martin) told us to keep confidence in ourselves. Keep faith and we would do it."
On winning his 200th cap: "It would have been special if we had won (this match). I would have liked to have celebrated with a victory."
|August 07th, 2012 at 12:47 pm||We're 13 minutes from the battle for the final men's semi-final spot; Spain vs Great Britain at the Riverbank|
|August 07th, 2012 at 12:48 pm||The equation is Spain need to beat GB to take second spot in Pool A; for GB a draw or win is enough|
|August 07th, 2012 at 12:49 pm||In the unlikely event GB win by 12 goals, they will top the group; otherwise any win/draw sees them second and Australia top|
|August 07th, 2012 at 12:52 pm||Lots of milestones today: David Alegre gets his 200th cap; Matt Daly 150th; Iain Mackay 100, Iain Lewers 50; congrats all!|
|August 07th, 2012 at 12:56 pm||Umpires for Spain vs GB game are S Taylor (NZL) and J Wright (RSA)|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:06 pm||Spots of rain in the air; mild enough evening; the band are in fine fettle and the crowd good voice for a huge occasion|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:07 pm||GB have the first sighter on goal, Tindall dragging at Cortes and Jackson smashing the rebound wide, ESP 0 GB 0, 7mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:15 pm||Jackson weighs in with another sharp effort, Cortes saves, GB with the best of the chances, ESP 0 GB 0, 16mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:16 pm||Quemada takes a green card for Spain, 0-0, 17mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:24 pm||Lewers makes an excellent last-ditch clearance after a Spanish pc wreaks havoc in the GB circle, 24mins, ESP 0 GB 0|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:25 pm||Tubau takes the second green card of the half for Spain, quite a physical game so far, ESP 0 GB 0, 26mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:28 pm||Martin draws an unorthodox save from Cortes from a Lewers cross, good chance for GB, ESP 0 GB 0, 29mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:33 pm||Jackson whips home GB's second penalty corner, a drilled low effort that takes a little deflection en route, GB 1 ESP 0, 33mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:35 pm||Tindall with another huge chance, he has a bash but it takes a deflection over the bar; GB 1 ESP 0, 34mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:36 pm||Half-time: Great Britain 1 (Jackson) Spain 0, very little between the sides, Jackson's 81st GB goal the difference|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:48 pm||Smith makes a serious blooper to feed Tubau but Fair saves his reverse-stick effort a few seconds into the 2nd half; ESP 0 GB 1|
|August 07th, 2012 at 1:59 pm||Spain creating some nice interchanges but unable to get an end-product; GB much more direct and dangerous, ESP 0 GB 1, 48mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:04 pm||Wow, somehow the ball stays out from four phases of corner, Jackson, Mackay and Middleton all shooting, the bar intervenes too|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:07 pm||Quemada drags home a very powerful corner and we have a huge 15 minutes here; ESP 1 GB 1, 55mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:08 pm||A reminder, Spain need to win here; GB need only to draw - they lost their video referral in that last pc, ESP 1 GB 1, 56mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:17 pm||D Alegre gets a green card for a physical tackle, ESP 1 GB 1, 65mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:17 pm||Wilson doesn't retreat five and gets a green card, ESP 1 GB 1, 65mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:22 pm||GB keep out two corners, Quemada denied by Fair as the tension rises even further, ESP 1 GB 1, 69mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:23 pm||Controversial moments here; Spain awarded a pc, its reversed but Spain refer... ESP 1 GB 1, 70mins|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:25 pm||Referral rejected, Spain swap their goalkeepers with Trenchs making his tournament debut, Spain win another pc, ESP 1 GB 1, 70m|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:26 pm||Final score: Spain 1 (Quemada) Great Britain 1 (Jackson); incredible drama in the end; another Spain pc over-turned|
|August 07th, 2012 at 2:28 pm||The result sees Great Britain through to the semi-finals to play Netherlands, Spain finished third in Pool A|