Goals galore as Great Britain blitz Brazil

Barry Middleton vs Brazil

Brazil 1 (1)
Stephane Vehrle-Smith 4 (PC)

Great Britain 9 (3)
Adam Dixon 9 (FG)
Barry Middleton 12 54 (FG, FG)
Ashley Jackson 27 57 (PC, PS)
Harry Martin 37 (FG)
Sam Ward 47 59 (FG, FG)
Mark Gleghorne 56 (PC)

Full match details can be found here.

Great Britain grabbed their first win of their Olympic campaign with a 9-1 thrashing of hosts Brazil. Leading 4-1 going into the final quarter Bobby Crutchley’s side helped themselves to five goals in an incredible final 15 minutes with four of them coming after Crutchley had opted to remove his goalkeeper and play with 11 outfield players. Brazil took a shock lead through Stephane Vehrle-Smith’s early strike but thereafter it was one-way traffic with doubles from Barry Middleton, Ashley Jackson and Sam Ward causing most of the damage.  

Brazil got off to a dream start, netting their first-ever goal in the Olympics thanks to a slick penalty corner routine converted by Vehrle-Smith. Despite the early setback Great Britain soon restored parity when Adam Dixon slammed home a rebound in the ninth minute. The strike was Great Britain’s 200th in the Olympic Games. Captain Middleton notched his first of the night just three minutes later with a fierce backhand that deceived Rodrigo Faustino in the Brazil goal. As the quarter drew to a close, Mark Gleghorne went close with a penalty corner which flew just over the bar, it remained 2-1 at the first interval.  

Faustino saw off another penalty corner from Gleghorne in the second period and then made a splendid save from Jackson’s backhand strike. Despite the goalkeeper’s heroics it wasn’t long before the GB No7 got the better of the Brazilian stopper with a trademark penalty corner finding the target to make it 3-1 at half time.

At the start of the third quarter Faustino took centre stage with a string of incredible saves. First he made a superb block to keep out a missile from Dan Fox before then saving a Jackson penalty corner and a strike from Gleghorne. The pressure finally paid off when Harry Martin made it 4-1 with a close range finish after a goalmouth scramble; his fifth goal for Great Britain. Faustino made a world-class save to tip away another Jackson penalty corner to the delight of the vocal home crowd and Great Britain headed into the final quarter frustrated but leading 4-1.   

Two minutes into the final quarter Crutchley’s team made it 5-1. Ward made a lovely lead inside the circle and slotted the ball between the legs of Thiago Bomfim, who had replaced Faustino in goal. With ten minutes to go, Crutchley removed goalkeeper George Pinner, opting to play with 11 outfielders as Great Britain hunted more goals. The tactic paid off almost immediately. Middleton converted Fox’s pass for his second, GB’s sixth. Gleghorne then added his name to the scoresheet with a bullet penalty corner. Middleton was denied a hat-trick by a defender’s foot on the line but from the resultant penalty stroke Jackson made no mistake for goal No8. There was still time for Ward to convert Jackson’s pass for his second Olympic goal before the whistle went, confirming Great Britain’s handsome win. 

Great Britain’s next match is Thursday 11 August at 00:30 vs. Australia, live on BBC Sport.

Barry Middleton, Great Britain Captain:

 “It was good fun getting some goals out there and I think it shows what we are capable of as a team. I feel like we are definitely growing into this tournament and that is a good sign. Today was important to get our confidence up and that’s what we did.”

“Australia tomorrow will be a completely different game. We will have to defend a lot more but we did a lot of things right against Brazil; we need to keep that up.”

“Playing Brazil in Rio was great. You want an atmosphere to really get you going. It was good fun. We all want to be playing on the biggest stage in front of the biggest crowds. Even though we were on the receiving end of the crowd, it was great to play in and it really helped us raise our own game.”

“The key is to get a good rest in tonight and then we go again against Australia which is probably a must-win game for us now.”