Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wilson Fires Warning to Favourites as Brits Start with a Bang

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wilson Fires Warning to Favourites as Brits Start with a Bang

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley

GREAT BRITAIN 4 ARGENTINA 1 [bar] LASTAIR WILSON today claimed Great Britain are closing the gap on hockey's leading nations and believes their commanding 4-1 victory over Argentina is proof they can win an Olympic medal.

The world's fourth-ranked team overcame a physical approach from the Latin Americans, who are ranked five places below the hosts, in a tight opening half to run out authoritative winners before a raucous 16,000 capacity crowd at the Riverbank Arena.

Australia remain hot favourites for gold after thrashing South Africa, Great Britain's next opponents, 6-0 in their opening match yesterday morning with fancied sides Germany and the Netherlands also making winning starts. Although GB were expected to see off Argentina, Wilson insists such an encouraging start to their Olympic campaign suggests the team are peaking at the right time, having been ranked 11th when London was awarded the Games in 2005 and steadily climbed to their present fourth spot.

"It has been a long road over the last seven years," said the 28-year-old, who plays his club hockey for Beeston. "There's been a lot of training between then and now.

"After Athens [when Great Britain finished ninth], quite a lot of new guys came in -- myself included -- and we've all pretty well stayed together since then. There have been a few new guys come in more recently.

"But, generally, everyone's been together, we steadily worked our way up, building up experience, building up tactical nous, building up physical ability and all that sort of stuff.

"We feel like it's all coming to something now, where we now have the possibility of doing something really good in a home Games.

"In the past, we've been a bit off the leading sides and we would need a good bit of luck to get any sort of result against them.

"But we feel like we've played ourselves up the rankings and into the bigger games in tournaments now.

"So, when we play against them, if we play our real best game, then we can compete with those teams now."

Captain Barry Middleton opened the scoring after 21 minutes, converting after the ball ricocheted to him following a penalty corner. …

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