Champions Trophy: GB beat Germany to set up Argentina final

Great Britain celebrate semi-final win

FIH Champions Trophy

Venue:
Rosario, Argentina
Date:
28 January-5 February 2012
Coverage:
Watch Britain take on Argentina live on the BBC red button, including freeview, from 2300 GMT on Sunday, 5 February. Highlights available on BBC Sport website (UK users only).

Great Britain reached their first Champions Trophy final after goals from Sarah Thomas and Ashleigh Ball sealed a 2-0 semi-final win over Germany.

Danny Kerry's side dominated throughout against the side ranked three in the world and took the lead when Wales' Thomas steered home from close range.

Ball then converted Crista Cullen's shot to seal a first Champions Trophy win for a British side over Germany.

GB will face hosts Argentina, who beat the Netherlands, in Sunday's final.

The Dutch wilted as their semi-final tie went to penalties, failing to score any of their attempts after Argentina had levelled the game at 2-2 with a penalty stroke late in normal time.

Women's hockey has a large and vocal following in Argentina and Britain can expect relentless noise in the final, which begins at 2300 GMT on Sunday and will be shown live on the BBC Red Button, including freeview.

The question is whether that home support is enough to compensate for the stamina-sapping extra time and penalties endured by Argentina, who twice came from behind before triumphing.

Earlier, Germany were a distinct second-best for much of their semi-final clash and Britain coach Kerry felt his side earned their comfortable margin of victory.

He said: "I'm chuffed to bits. The girls are a pleasure to work with, they listen to everything and they work intently. I'm proud to work with them. We've easily been in the top two teams here, and we deserve to be in the final.

"In the first half we were playing with them, taking them apart. In the second half we had to be a bit smart at the end when they took their goalie off, and we did that very well.

"It's nice to make history. What more can you say?"

Kerry's side started on the front foot in the host city of Rosario, with Alex Danson skipping through to fashion the first chance, which was saved by the sprawling Yvonne Frank.

Danson then fired wide and won a penalty corner when her burst through the middle was ended as she was sandwiched by Fanny Rinne and Nina Hasselmann.

The penalty corner was drilled in by Kate Walsh and while Frank made the save, Chloe Rogers played it back in and Thomas was on hand to put it through the keeper's legs.

Danson was again a threat as she stole the ball from the German defence but after she mis-hit her attempt, Laura Bartlett saw the follow-up well saved by Frank with her legs.

The referee then stopped play for a two-minute break as both sets of players were allowed to shelter from the heat and take on drinks.

Hannah Macleod was shown a green card on the resumption and German veteran Natascha Keller instantly had their first sight of goal but GB keeper Beth Storry made the save with her feet.

Maike Stockel then missed an open goal when she failed to connect with a cross from the right as GB ended the half ahead.

GB won their second penalty corner moments into the second half and again it led to a goal.

Ball played the ball in, and when tournament top scorer Cullen dragged her shot wide, Ball arrived unmarked at the far post for a tap-in.

GB were well on top, and Laura Bartlett came close to a third but her shot was cleared from the goalmouth, before Frank made a smart save to deny Rogers.

Stockel went close with a shot over the top as Germany enjoyed their best spell before a second drinks break was called.

Germany then made the bold move of replacing their goalkeeper as they played out the closing stages with an outfield kicking back instead.

And despite Ball missing an open goal, Kerry's side saw out the final 10 minutes comfortably to seal a place in the final.

Germany will compete for bronze in the earlier play-off match which is due to start at 2030.

Great Britain's Champions Trophy final against Argentina will be available on all red button platforms, including freeview, at 2300 GMT on Sunday, 5 February.

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