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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
Spain thrash Great Britain
Spain's Santi Freixa
Great Britain's hopes of reaching the men's hockey semi-finals were dealt a massive blow after they were thrashed 5-1 by Spain.

Goals from Pol Amat (2), Santi Freixa (2) and Xavier Ribas swept Spain to the win with Barry Middleton's second-half effort coming too late to save Britain.

Middleton's early strike looked to have given Britain the perfect start, but was controversially disallowed.

But after Spain took the lead through Amat, the result was seldom in doubt.

Middleton looked to have capitalised on Ben Hawes' chipped long ball which travelled at head-height for 20m before deflected into the net.

But Indian umpire Sahinder Kumar, who had initially allowed the goal, succumbed to Spanish protests and consulted colleague Christian Blasch before ruling the goal out.

Amat took advantage of some slack marking on five minutes to give Spain the lead with a reverse-stick strike past Simon Mason.

It took Britain until the 26th minute to get their next shot on goal but the Spanish goalkeeper was barely threatened by Danny Hall's strike.

Two before half time, Brett Garrard was caught in possession Eduard Tubau played in Freixa who punished Britain with a clinical finish.

Our confidence was completely shot and we didn't know where to turn
GB coach Jason Lee
And seconds later, Spain put an end to British hopes of recovery as Freixa fired home from a penalty corner.

Things went from bad to worse for Britain after the break as Amat latched onto a loose ball to score again.

Middleton's well-taken second-half goal was little more than consolation for Britain and Ribas' late goal set the seal on a dominant Spanish performance.

"We were well and truly beaten," admitted GB coach Jason Lee.

"We didn't play well and we struggled.

"With five minutes to go in the first half we were not far off where we wanted to be. It was fairly tight and we had had a proper goal disallowed.

"If things had gone our way it may well have been different but suddenly we're 3-0 down. By then our confidence was completely shot and we didn't know where to turn.

"But I'm pleased the guys just ran and ran until the end."

Britain will have to win their remaining group games against world champions Germany and Pakistan to have any hope of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Elsewhere, in Group B Australia edged out India 4-3 with a last-gasp strike from Michael Brennan braking the deadlock.

In an entertaining battle, India took an early lead through Deepak Thakur before falling Troy Elder equalised for Australia.

Goals from Jamie Dwyer and Michael McCann put Australia into a 3-1 lead but India levelled through Gagan Ajit Singh and Arjun Halappa.

But Brennan's 70th-minute strike secured victory for Australia.





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