Great Britain Men qualified for the inaugural FIH Pro League Grand Finals with a 2-0 win over New Zealand in their final home match at a packed Twickenham Stoop on Sunday afternoon.
12,000 enthusiastic fans turned out to see their heroes and they weren’t disappointed as goals from Chris Griffiths and Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth enabled Great Britain to pip Argentina to the fourth and final qualifying place after Argentina crashed 4-1 in Belgium.
However it was New Zealand who posed the first threat with two penalty corners in the first minute, Great Britain able to rely on Surbiton’s Harry Gibson in their goal to repel the Black Sticks’ first efforts at goal.
The partisan crowd only had to wait until the sixth minute to have something to celebrate, Griffiths’ reverse shot putting Great Britain ahead and causing New Zealand to lose their right to a video referral early in the match, challenging the goal award.
Surbiton’s Zach Wallace was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the crossbar in the second quarter as Great Britain continued to pressurise the Black Sticks goal. In spite of their efforts, Great Britain only carried a single goal lead into the second half.
George Pinner replaced Gibson in goal and stopped New Zealand equalising from penalty corners in the third quarter when the Black Sticks tactically held possession for periods in an effort to find a way through the Great Britain defence.
However it was all in vain as Ashley Jackson found Griffiths whose shot towards goal was finished off by Forsyth to double the British lead and book a semi-final on Friday against Australia.
Australia finished top of the table and play fourth placed Great Britain whilst second placed Belgium face third placed hosts, the Netherlands in the other semi-final. The winners play in the final on Sunday and the losers play for third place, all matches being held in the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.
Gibson, Forsyth, Brendan Creed and Zach Wallace were all in the Great Britain starting lineup whilst Chris Grassick came on as a sixth minute substitute, a minute after both James Gall and Tom Sorsby joined the action.
More information about the Men’s FIH Pro League, including information about the Grand Finals can be found at the FIH website
The Great Britain Hockey match report can be read here
All the matches are being shown on BT Sport and the schedule for all their channnels can be found here