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A goalless draw with the US removes any chance of Britain's women picking up an Olympic hockey medal.
Britain's women cannot win a hockey medal at the 2008 Olympics after they failed to beat the United States in their final pool game.
Only heroics from Beth Storry in the GB goal kept the US from scoring as the sides fought out a goalless draw.
Kate Walsh had a late opportunity to score from a penalty corner, but Britain otherwise rarely threatened and tamely crashed out of the medal chase.
GB now face Australia to decide whether they finish fifth or sixth overall.
The result also prevents the US, who won 11 penalty corners but failed to convert any, from winning a medal.
We wanted to come and win the game but we knew it was going to be tough
British head coach Danny Kerry said his side had been stifled by their opponents.
"I thought the US closed off our options really well and looking at how many corners they won, and how they limited our penetrations, is testament to how they played," he said.
"I felt some players performed really well tonight in trying to keep the US out - Kate (Walsh), Crista (Cullen), Sarah Thomas.
"We are bitterly disappointed by the performance."
Goalkeeper Storry said she had not expected to play as big a part as she had.
Great Britain whimpered to a draw to forfeit any medal chance
"I was not planning to be as busy as that," she said.
"We wanted to come and win the game but we knew it was going to be tough.
"Everyone is disappointed. The opportunity was there for the taking with the corner in the last few seconds but we couldn't convert."
Britain could mathematically have progressed to the semi-finals if winless New Zealand had beaten second-placed Argentina by eight clear goals, but the Black Sticks lost 3-2.
Victory for Argentina sent them through from Pool B to face Athens silver medallists the Netherlands, who beat Spain 2-0 in Pool A, in the semi-finals.
Spain will now face the US in a play-off for seventh and eighth place.
China's 2-2 draw with Australia proved enough to set up a semi-final against defending Olympic champions Germany, who beat Japan 1-0 to progress.
Japan will now meet South Korea, who recorded their only Pool A victory with a 5-2 win over South Africa in their final group game, to decide ninth and 10th place.
New Zealand, who finished bottom of their group, will play off against South Africa for 11th and 12th.
One small crumb of comfort for the GB team is that regardless of whether they finish fifth or sixth, they have now qualified to play in 2009's Champions Trophy tournament in Sydney.
It is the first time GB have reached the competition since 2003.