TEAM GB men’s hockey coach Jason Lee maintains their stunning comeback against Australia on Sunday will count for nothing unless they finish the job against Spain by qualifying for the semi-finals tonight (7pm).
Australia had threatened to dish out another thrashing, having already beaten South Africa 6-0 and Spain 5-0, when they went 3-0 up in hockey’s Ashes early in the second half.
But the all-conquering Kookaburras were given a taste of their own medicine as Jonty Clarke, Barry Middleton and, then, James Tindall scored without reply to salvage a draw.
Widley’s Richard Smith played a full part in the comeback, with his penalty corner being put away by Middleton for the second goal.
It means Team GB will just need a draw against Spain tonight to make the last four, in a match that is likely to see Smith start in defence once again.
But Lee, while applauding the character of his players, warned them not to take their eye off the ball.
He said: ‘The last game told me everything I knew already. We have got some quality, we have got a bit of grit about us, but Australia are world No1 and have been for quite a while.
‘For us to win, we have to have a slice of luck and be at the top of our game.
‘It was pleasing how we came back into it, the crowd lifted us and we’re thankful for that.
‘It was a special occasion – we don’t want to throw it away in the next game.
‘We’ve still got to go out and beat Spain in our last game. We are unbeaten in the pool phase so far but we definitely need three points in the last game to get qualification to the semis.’
A thrilling finale against the Aussies saw both teams go in search of the winner, leaving the 16,000 fans inside the Riverbank Arena on their feet.
And Lee believes it acted as a fantastic advertisement for the sport.
‘One of the things we wanted to do at this Olympics was to be entertaining and play attacking hockey,’ he said.
‘We wanted to make sure the crowd felt that hockey was worth watching – and we were, too – and we achieved that.’
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