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GB Women Begin FIH Olympic Qualifiers With A 2-0 Win

Great Britain Women's team started their FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada in Valencia on Saturday.

Tessa Howard (18') and Anna Toman (36') scored a goal each in what was a closely fought Group B contest.

With a Paris 2024 Olympics berth at stake, both teams were cautious in their pursuit in the opening quarter. They focused on maintaining their defensive structure and tried creating spaces in each other's halves.

GB gradually took control of the ball and started making attacking runs inside their opponent's circle. In the 10th minute, Izzy Petter stole the ball just outside the striking circle and drew the first penalty corner of the match through a fiery shot at goal. However, GB missed out on converting it as Giselle Owsley's high shot was ruled dangerous by the umpire. GB earned their second penalty corner of the match in the 14th minute but missed out on taking the lead  ending the first quarter 0-0.

GB started the second quarter brightly as they managed to earn a penalty stroke during the penalty corner routine in the 18th minute, and it was Howard who stepped up, slotting the ball home with ease to make it 1-0 for her team.

GB enjoyed the ball possession throughout the second quarter. They made attacking runs and also had a penalty corner to double their lead in the 29th minute, but the Canada defence managed to avert the danger.

With a slender 1-0 lead, GB started the third quarter aggressively. They earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 32nd minute, but couldn't take advantage of the opportunities to double the lead.

Hannah French Hugs Anna Toman after scoring - Photography by World Sports Pics

GB continued with their relentless attack and kept piling pressure on the Canadian defence. Their efforts finally paid off as they doubled the lead through Toman, who slapped the ball into the net during a penalty corner routine in the 36th minute.

Moments later, GB came close to scoring the third goal, but Hannah French's shot in front of the goalpost, hit the crossbar. Canada, on the other hand, tried their best to respond, but GB's midfield kept making crucial interceptions ending the third quarter with a 2-0 lead.

The start of the final quarter saw GB dominating the ball possession, making runs inside the Canadian half, but couldn't create much danger. They had a series of penalty corners in the 52nd minute, but couldn't convert them. Two minutes later, they again earned a penalty corner, but Ansley's slap shot was saved by the Canadian goalie Rowan Harris.

In reply, Canada surprisingly came up with a brave move and earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 55th minute but missed out on scoring their first goal.  

GB then slowed down the proceedings with short exchanges inside their half to end the match with a 2-0 win.

GB Women will take on hosts Spain in their second Group B match on January 14, 2024 at 10:45 UK Time, watch live on BBC sport and red button.