First-ever Olympic final place for GB women’s team

Great Britain's players celebrate at the end of the match following victory over New Zealand in the

Great Britain's players celebrate at the end of the match following victory over New Zealand in the Women's Semi final match at the Olympic Hockey Centre on the twelfth day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Great Britain will go for gold against Holland in the Olympic women's hockey final on Friday.

Whatever happens, Britain's women have already confirmed their best performance in Olympic hockey history.

They surpassed bronze medal successes, at Barcelona 24 years ago and London 2012, by beating semi-final opponents New Zealand 3-0 in Deodoro thanks to an Alex Danson double and Helen Richardson-Walsh's penalty strike.

Head coach Danny Kerry, who was raised in West Norfolk and went to King Edward VII School in King's Lynn, was delighted with his team's performance.

'I think the girls were absolutely superb, tactically they were absolutely spot on,' Kerry, formerly of King's Lynn hockey club Pelicans, told the BBC.

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'Under pressure they kept delivering, I'm very, very proud of them.'

Kate Richardson-Walsh's team have now matched the likes of Sean Kerly, Ian Taylor and Paul Barber, who reached the men's Olympic final at Seoul in 1988.

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And they will want to emulate the most famous team British hockey has seen by winning gold, albeit against a Dutch side seeking a hat-trick of Olympic titles.

But they got there the hard way, seeing Crista Cullen and Georgie Twigg go off after suffering blows to the head, then Helen Richardson-Welsh limped away immediately after rifling her penalty home as Britain secured a seventh successive win of the tournament.

Kerry now has to settle his team down for Friday's final, continuing: 'It will be our usual processes. We're probably going to get some media attention now so we just have to make sure that doesn't interfere with our recovery and our briefings and stuff.

'But it'll just be our usual processes, like we've done throughout the tournament. I know it's dull but it works.'

The full-time whistle prompted wild celebrations from the GB team, with Kate Richardson-Walsh adding: 'We didn't feel nervous, we were confident.

'They got chances but were never scoring and we were thinking that it was going to be our night. We were able to get a stroke and able to score this time.'

Earlier in the evening Holland had qualified for the final in dramatic fashion, winning in a penalty shoot-out against Germany.

The semi-final had finished 1-1 but Holland progressed thanks to a 4-3 win on penalty strokes.

Friday's gold medal match is scheduled to start at 9pm UK time, following the bronze medal match.

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