Tag Archives: tackles

Schalk Brits ready to face Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller

Pride at stake for Brits as Sarries hooker goes head-to-head with fellow Boks

-13.

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Brits said: ‘I’ve been blessed with no injuries, and for the first time in two years I don’t feel over-played.

‘The club look after us unbelievably well and in return all we can do is to work very, very hard on the pitch.

‘That’s not been flashy. If it means making 20 tackles or hitting 20 rucks to ensure we win then that’s what we will do.’

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce slams suspended players Kevin Nolan and James Collins

Allardyce slams 'unprofessional' Nolan and Collins after they pick up fifth yellow cards in Reading defeat

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 30 December 2012

Sam Allardyce blasted two of his key players who picked up yellow cards against Reading that will force them to miss their New Year's Day match with Norwich.

Captain Kevin Nolan and defender James Collins have been at the heart of West Ham's season but will miss their match against Norwich on Tuesday as they serve a one-match suspension for picking up five yellow cards.

If they had not been booked on Saturday the suspension threshold would been have extended to 10 yellow cards.

Head-to-head: West Ham captain Kevin Nolan squares up to Reading's Alex Pearce during the Premier League match on Saturday

Head-to-head: West Ham captain Kevin Nolan squares up to Reading's Alex Pearce during the Premier League match on Saturday

The Hammers have struggled with injuries this season and only two weeks ago they could not name a full list of substitutes against West Brom.

Nolan was booked with 10 minutes to play for a late challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu who was breaking away inside his own half and Collins's yellow was for a late challenge on Pavel Pogrebnyak – both needless tackles.

And manager Allardyce branded the two players 'unprofessional' for picking up a fifth booking this season so close to the deadline.

The 58-year-old said: 'Suddenly Norwich becomes a test of nerve – we are now in our worst run of results this season, and the unprofessionalism of players, due to frustration, means we are now without our captain and James Collins on New Year's Day through suspension.

Suspension: James Collins, as well as Nolan, picked up their fifth bookings of the season against Reading, meaning they will miss the New Year's Day game with Norwich

Suspension: James Collins, as well as Nolan, picked up their fifth bookings of the season against Reading, meaning they will miss the New Year's Day game with Norwich

'Losing the game was hard enough, but to lose two key players in the last game of the suspension period makes it even worse.

'If they had got booked on Tuesday, there's no suspension, but they go and get booked at Reading and now we have to make do without them.'

The yellow card compounded a particularly bad afternoon for Collins.

The centre back was one of West Ham's best players in reducing Reading to a single shot on target – but it was his glaring mistake that handed them that chance that resulted in the winner.

On five minutes Collins played a woefully short pass back to Jussi Jaaskelainen and Pogrebnyak ran on to the ball and finished one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Bad day at the office: Collins also underhit a backpass to gift Pavel Pogrebnyak what turned out to be the decisive goal on five minutes

Bad day at the office: Collins also underhit a backpass to gift Pavel Pogrebnyak what turned out to be the decisive goal on five minutes

The result was only Reading's second win in the league this season against a team they came up with from the Championship.

West Ham are now only six points clear of the relegation zone following a run of one win in eight matches.

They have lost five of their last seven games and Allardyce admitted they are starting to worry about Premier League survival.

But his captain Nolan insisted that during the previous four seasons no-one outside of the top four are safe in the Barclays Premier League until close to the end of the campaign.

The 30-year-old said: 'In the Premier League no matter where you are unless it's two games to go and you're in the top 10 you don't not look behind you.

Not impressed: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce branded Nolan and Collins 'unprofessional' after picking up the suspensions

Not impressed: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce branded Nolan and Collins 'unprofessional' after picking up the suspensions

'I think if you can include Everton [and Arsenal] with the top four all the rest of the teams could be around [the relegation place], a few losses and you're all dragged back into it.

'It's just the way it is, the way the league has been the last three or four years.'

He added: 'We're on 23 points, it's been a decent start, if you'd offered us that at the beginning of the season we would've taken it. That's how we've got to look at it.

'We've got to go for another 23 points and plus that for the next half of the season which is going to be tough but we're more than capable of doing it.'

Sheffield Wednesday"s Jeremy Helan booked twice but not sent off

Yellow peril for ref Russell as he books City loanee Helan TWICE but doesn't send him off

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 29 December 2012

Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson was outraged with referee Mike Russell after he booked Sheffield Wednesday’s Jeremy Helan TWICE but did not send him off.

Grayson said Russell had wrongly recorded Michail Antonio in his book, confusing matters when he presented a second yellow to Helan, but the Owls continued with 11 men.

After the final whistle, Russell recognised his mistake and cleared the air with Grayson, who was satisfied the error was not intentional, but blamed the referee’s team for a lack of support.

Howler: Referee Mike Russell gave Jeremy Helan a second yellow card in Sheffield Wednesday's game at Huddersfield, but didn't send him off

Howler: Referee Mike Russell gave Jeremy Helan a second yellow card in Sheffield Wednesday's game at Huddersfield, but didn't send him off

Howler: Referee Mike Russell gave Jeremy Helan a second yellow card in Sheffield Wednesday's game at Huddersfield, but didn't send him off

‘As we came off the pitch he came to me to apologise for the error he made,’ said the 43-year old.

‘I think he's probably written the
wrong number down in his book, which is staggering and I also think he
should have been helped by his officials, who should be overruling
because they all know, when a referee makes a mistake like that, who
he's booking.

'He's put Antonio's number in his
book, but he was nowhere near the incident. I don't mind referee's
making big mistakes in terms of tackles and sendings off, but something
quite simple like that shouldn't be happening in Championship football.'

Russell yellow-carded 20-year-old
Helan, on loan from Manchester City, for a second time midway through
the first half, but failed to produce a red card amid angered chants of
'you don’t know what you’re doing' from the crowd. Huddersfield players
and management also protested.

The club may have grounds to demand a replay of the 0-0 draw, but Grayson gave no indications this would be requested.

Furious: Simon Grayson was angry with the official's team despite receiving an apology

Furious: Simon Grayson was angry with the official's team despite receiving an apology

'I'm not going to say Wednesday going
down to 10 men would have guaranteed us winning the game, but it would
have certainly helped us and what if the lad had gone on to score or
created the winning goal

'It would have been a massive talking
point, which it is already. I’m not sure about [a replay]. No-one has
said anything like that. I'd be very surprised.

'I just think referees in general
should be accountable for any decisions and have a press conference
after the game, whether good decisions or bad decisions.'

He insisted referees should be available to account for their decisions after the game.

'It shouldn't be up to myself or Dave
Jones to explain, they should be out and you should be able to ask
questions as to why he made certain decisions.

'I've not seen Dave, but I'm sure if
it was the other way round he wouldn't have been so calm and as placid
on the touchline as he was.'

Grayson added: 'It's a shame, we
shouldn't be talking about the referee after a Yorkshire derby, with a
great atmosphere and two teams trying to win a football match.'

Manchester derby: Martin Atkinson to ref City v United at Etihad Stadium

Fearing the worst, Fergie Atkinson to take charge of Manchester derby

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 3 December 2012

Referee Martin Atkinson will take charge of the Manchester derby at the Etihad on Sunday despite his controversial brushes with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the past.

Although City versus United is too early in the season to be billed as a title-decider, the rivals are way out in front in the Barclays Premier League table and the clash will prove crucial to the shape of the league ahead of the jam-packed Christmas schedule.

They've got previous: Sir Alex Ferguson comes up against referee Martin Atkinson again this weekend

They've got previous: Sir Alex Ferguson comes up against referee Martin Atkinson again this weekend

Ferguson was initially handed a five-match touchline ban and fined 30,000 by the Football Association last year for his comments about referee Martin Atkinson following United’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

Speaking after the game at Stamford Bridge, Ferguson said he had ‘feared the worst’ after hearing Atkinson was in charge of that Premier League.

Atkinson did not send off Chelsea defender David Luiz for his fiery tackles on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney, and at the time Ferguson said: ‘You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway – and we didn’t get that.

City gents: Vincent Kompany headed the winner for Roberto Mancini's men when the side's went head-to-head last season

City gents: Vincent Kompany headed the winner for Roberto Mancini's men when the side's went head-to-head last season

‘I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared it. I feared the worst.’

His comments invoked a suspended two-match ban that related to comments Ferguson had previously made about referee Alan Wiley when he questioned the official’s fitness during a home draw with Sunderland.

Gareth Bale will keep lid on Charlie Adam feud, says Joe Allen

Allen backs Wales team-mate Bale to keep a lid on feud with Scot star Adam

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 9 October 2012

Joe Allen has promised Wales will not allow a feud between Gareth Bale and Charlie Adam to spill into their World Cup qualifying clash with Scotland.

Welshman Bale, who missed three months in 2011 after Adam’s tackle snapped his ankle ligaments, branded the Scot a ‘coward’ when they clashed again in a pre-season friendly between Tottenham and Liverpool.

Backing: Joe Allen has backed Gareth Bale to let his football go the talking when he comes up against Charlie Adam, with whom he has had a long-running spat after a couple of nasty tackles

Backing: Joe Allen has backed Gareth Bale to let his football go the talking when he comes up against Charlie Adam, with whom he has had a long-running spat after a couple of nasty tackles

Taken down: Adam has twice forced Bale off early in matches, one of which came in a friendly earlier this year

Taken down: Adam has twice forced Bale off early in matches, one of which came in a friendly earlier this year

Friday’s Group H encounter at Cardiff
City Stadium will be the first time they have faced each other since. It
will add spice to a match both countries must win to keep alive hopes
of going to Brazil 2014.

But Liverpool’s 15m signing Allen said: ‘I don’t think it will be more feisty than any other game. There is that element of rivalry, but any game at international level is approached the same way and that is purely to try to win.’

Adam, now at Stoke, has insisted he did say sorry to Bale at the time. He said: ‘I apologised to him during the game after a corner. I said to him I was sorry and thought everything was all right.

'I also apologised to the Tottenham manager at half time. Then all of a sudden I was being called a coward. That’s football and it won’t stop me tackling. I hope it is done and dusted now.’

Allen, whose arrival at Anfield forced Adam to move, believes Bale will put the matter to one side. He said: ‘Will there be any extra motivation for him Not from that point of view.

'He performs every time he goes out on a pitch and I am sure the Scots will be pretty scared about facing a player of his calibre.'

Under fire Clark calls for more bravery from Birmingham players after latest home loss

Under-fire Clark calls for more bravery from Birmingham players after latest home loss

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UPDATED:

19:31 GMT, 6 October 2012

Under-pressure Birmingham boss Lee Clark called for his players to stand up and be counted and stop hiding behind him after City were again booed off following another home defeat.

A hurt Clark cut a frustrated figure following this afternoon's 1-0 defeat to former employers Huddersfield, leaving Blues fourth-bottom in the npower Championship.

Former Sunderland and Newcastle player Lee Clark

Under the spotlight: Lee Clark is feeling the heat after another home defeat

Blues' fifth defeat from 10 games was a second successive setback on home soil in the league for the first time in 19 months, and came after the abject 5-0 rout by Barnsley, the club's biggest home league defeat in 25 years.

Reports of a player revolt were dismissed this week but Clark saw his side put in a disappointing display, especially in the first half, and felt his charges handed the initiative to the visitors from the first whistle due to a lack of competitiveness.

Jermaine Beckford's 25th-minute strike settled matters for high-flying Huddersfield, while substitute Nikola Zigic was sent off 16 minutes from time for a high challenge on Callum Woods.

Clark said: 'It's our home, it's where the majority of our fans are. They come to see us and want to see a performance. Any football fan in the world wants to see a bit of drive.

'Some good tackles are as good as a good shot, they get the crowd lifted, they get them behind the team, they drive you forward.

Jermaine Beckford of Huddersfield Town scores a goal to make the score 0-1

Twisting the knife: Huddersfield's Jermaine Beckford scores to inflict another loss on Lee Clark – this time against his former club

'Football fans are working-class people, they want to see someone having a right good go for their team, in terms of tackling, heading, competing.

'You see the size of me, I'm not a big fella but I competed, I put my head in there, I put my foot in there. Maybe seven times out of 10 the opposition came through me with the ball but I was still putting some sort of challenge in.

'There were four of five players in the first half who never did that. They've got to stand up and be counted.

'Okay, I'm responsible but I can't keep saying that. Can they start taking responsibility

'I'm getting the flak from supporters, no problem I can take that. But I'm not sitting in the dressing room telling them not to tackle, to pussyfoot around, telling them to mis-place passes.

'They can't just hide behind me all the time, they've got to come out fighting.'

Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson backed Clark to turn things around at St Andrew's after watching his side end a run of back-to-back home defeats with a third successive win on the road.

It takes Town – who were impressive here, more so in the first half – up to sixth in the table.

'I think deservedly we got the win, getting any points in the Championship is never easy,' Grayson said.

'We started the game very well, very brightly, pressurised Birmingham when we needed to, played in the right areas with purpose and created some good opportunities. I'm delighted from that point of view.

'The back end of the game when Birmingham had nothing to lose we were resilient and withstood some pressure.

'To come here and get a result is satisfying from my point of view after two tough previous defeats.'

Roberto Martinez charged by FA after Old Trafford rant

Wigan boss Martinez charged by FA after Old Trafford outburst

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UPDATED:

10:43 GMT, 26 September 2012

Furious: Martinez was disappointed with the officials at Old Trafford

Furious: Martinez was disappointed with the officials at Old Trafford

Roberto Martinez had been charged by the Football Association following comments he made after Wigan's 4-0 defeat at Manchester United earlier this month.

The Wigan manager called on Premier League bosses to restrict games at Old Trafford to referees at the top end of the age-scale after claiming 27-year-old Michael Oliver should have sent both Danny Welbeck and Paul Scholes off.

Martinez was unhappy about a penalty awarded to the hosts as well as a Danny Welbeck challenge on Franco di Santo which he felt warranted a red card.

Martinez said: 'If you are involved
in football, and you look at the replay, you can see exactly what
Welbeck is trying to do. He dived, and I was really annoyed to see the
referee point to the spot.

'It was shocking, as bad a decision as you are ever likely to see in the Barclays Premier League.

Accusation: Martinez said Welbeck dived to win a penalty

Accusation: Martinez said Welbeck dived to win a penalty

'Michael Oliver is a very capable
referee, who has been outstanding in many big games, but it was clear
from the opening minutes that he was not going to measure both teams the
same way.

'There were a couple of tackles by United players which, if they had been the other way round, would have been red cards.

'In that last challenge by Welbeck,
he had his foot over the ball as he went in on Franco Di Santo. It was
completely reckless and dangerous, and under the current regulations, it
should be a red card, whether you play for Wigan, Manchester United or
anyone else.

Defeat: Wigan were soundly beaten by Manchester United at Old Trafford

Defeat: Wigan were soundly beaten by Manchester United at Old Trafford

'We had a player sent off here last
season, and it was rescinded straightaway. Two seasons ago, we had two
players sent off. Now this.

'I just feel it is a difficult place
for referees. They need to be strong, and they need to be very, very
experienced. They need to know how to handle the occasion. It’s not
about handling the game here, it’s the occasion.

'Welbeck should have been shown a straight red, and Paul Scholes had two bad challenges that were worthy of yellow cards.

'We had James McArthur booked for
something very similar, yet Scholes got away with both. I cannot
understand how those same challenges can be judged in different ways.'

The comments prompted the FA to charge the former Swansea boss with a statement adding: 'The charge is in relation to an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 concerning media comments which implied that the match referee and/or match officials in general are motivated by bias and/or brought the game into disrepute.

'Martinez has until 4pm on Thursday 27 September 2012 to respond to the charge.'

Serbia warn Scotland ahead of World Cup qualifier

We don't fear you! Serbia star Tosic sends out warning to Scotland

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UPDATED:

01:12 GMT, 6 September 2012

Serbia's footballers arrive in Scotland on Thursday night ready for battle and with one message to Craig Levein and his squad: 'We're not scared of you.'

The talk this week within the Scotland camp of a typically physical and passionate approach to the game has filtered back to Saturday's opponents.

And 10million-rated winger Zoran Tosic told Sportsmail he and his team-mates are ready for anything Scotland throw at them.

Main man: Zoran Tosic (right) will pose a threat to Scotland on Saturday

Main man: Zoran Tosic (right) will pose a threat to Scotland on Saturday

The 25-year-old from CSKA Moscow was highlighted in a dossier compiled by Mick Oliver, Levein's chief scout, as a man Scotland must stop if they are to claim three vital points in Saturday's opening World Cup qualifier.

That didn't surprise Tosic, once of Manchester United, who is adamant he will not be deterred by any man-marking or physical approach from the Scottish defence.

'I was expecting to be singled out as I am the attacking player who has played the most games and scored the most goals,’ Tosic said. ‘It is normal. I’m sure all the Scotland players will give 100 per cent in the atmosphere at Hampden Park — and I am sure they will try to close down our players and try to make sure there is no space.

‘But I am used to that in my career. People can make tackles to try to scare you, but I have a lot of experience in dealing with that.

‘It is not just about me. We have a lot of other players who can pose a threat. But, from my point of view, I know my quality and will do my best to help the team. I will be trying to influence the game.’

Serbia remain confident they can
start the qualifying campaign with a win at Hampden and defender Milan
Bisevac insisted his side have the defensive might to shut out Scotland.

Here we go: Scotland's squad train ahead of Saturdays game against Serbia

Here we go: Scotland's squad train ahead of Saturdays game against Serbia

The Lyon star forms part of an embarrassment of riches in that department of Sinisa Mihajlovic’s squad, alongside the likes of Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund stalwart Neven Subotic and Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic.

Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic has retired from international football, but Bisevac believes they have ample strength to cope.

‘Everything depends on our game. It will not be easy for us in Scotland as we expect our opponents to be aggressive,’ he said.

‘But it’s very important for us to have a good start to qualification and winning at Hampden will give us more power for the future.

‘The defensive unit and organisation is the base of our team. It will be good to continue that attitude because we were good with Nemanja and we don’t want that to change now that he has left the squad.’

Former Blackburn midfielder Radosav Petrovic revealed he has been badgering Colin Hendry for information about Scotland. Petrovic ended a 12-month stint at Ewood Park to join Turkish side Genclerbirligi last month, but crossed paths with ex-Scotland defender Hendry after he was named as Rovers first-team coach this summer.

Home comforts: Scotland have a double header at Hampden

Home comforts: Scotland have a double header at Hampden

‘When I played for Blackburn and we found out we were in a group with Scotland, I spoke several times with Hendry,’ said Petrovic.

‘He argued with me that it would not be an easy game for us. He told me that the supporters are very passionate and can help them win any game.

‘But I know we are fully prepared for this game. We won’t return from Scotland with a defeat.’

While confident in his side’s ability, Tosic did offer a note of caution, however, and is respectful of the danger Levein’s side will pose in the group opener.

‘Scotland will have so much heart, especially in front of their fans at home,’ he said. ‘Support like that makes you believe you can achieve anything.

‘This group is different to any other. There are no easy games, no lesser teams. There is little difference in the quality. ‘That means it’s difficult to tell what will be a good result from each game. I think only Spain have won in Glasgow recently, so that tells you something.

‘I know we will face a British-style game. In the qualifiers for Euro 2012, we played two games against Northern Ireland and won both. Hopefully, we can achieve these results again.’

Alex Song arrives at Barcelona to seal Arsenal exit

Unprofessional, lazy, late… and now signing for Barcelona! Song checks in at Spanish giants after Arsenal wave goodbye

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UPDATED:

08:41 GMT, 20 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Alex Song has touched down in Barcelona to complete his 15million move after it emerged that Arsenal are happy to let him go.

Song was pictured at the Nou Camp on Monday morning ahead of his medical.

Arsene Wenger sanctioned the sale of after becoming infuriated by the midfielder’s lack of commitment in pre-season.

And it has emerged that the Cameroon midfielder’s exit has been in the offing for months after a breakdown in the relationship between player and club over an improved contract.

As Sportsmail revealed last Thursday, Song will complete a switch on Monday — sealing the departure of a second key Arsenal player in less than a week.

Welcome: Alex Song poses for the photographers after arriving at the Nou Camp on Monday

Welcome: Alex Song poses for the photographers after arriving at the Nou Camp on Monday

But unlike the 24million sale of Robin van Persie, who was in the final year of his contract, to Manchester United, the Gunners were under no pressure to offload Song, who had three seasons left on his 55,000-per-week deal.

Club sources claim Song’s levels of professionalism had dropped significantly in recent months and Wenger decided enough was enough earlier this summer.

Sources also say Song regularly
arrived late for training, took a half-hearted approach in sessions and
did not follow instructions from the management staff.

Switch: Song will have to fight for a place in Barcelona's team of superstars

Switch: Song will have to fight for a place in Barcelona's team of superstars

Chilled out: Arsenal were unhappy with Alex Song's efforts in training this summer

Chilled out: Arsenal were unhappy with Alex Song's efforts in training this summer

THE SONG SHEET

In seven seasons for Arsenal he made 138 appearances — 121 starts — with 122 in the past four seasons.

Pinpoint passing — Made 7,312 passes and 85.46% found target. PL average last season was 79.65%. In his own half, his rate was 91.25%

Tough tackling — Attempted 402 tackles and won 309 or 77%. In 50-50 battles, won 831 of 1,596.

Creative core — 120 scoring chances and in a more advanced role last season had 11 goal assists.

Having established himself as arguably
the club’s second-most influential player behind Van Persie, Song felt
he was entitled to an improved contract and tried to open talks over a
pay rise.

He will earn around 70,000 a week at Barcelona.

It is understood Song’s advisers tried to initiate contact over a new contract in January.

However, sources close to Song insist Arsenal delayed attempts by the 24-year-old to negotiate, leaving the player disillusioned.

Song is said to have been desperate to commit his long-term future to the club, but felt his salary should have been on a par with other top earners.

Ultimately, Arsenal felt offering Song fresh terms was not a priority.

London 2012 Olympics: Team GB 1 China 2: Kate Walsh returns but hockey women will have to do it the hard way

Team GB 1 China 2: Walsh returns but hockey women will have to do it the hard way

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UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 4 August 2012

Captain Kate Walsh's return from a fractured jaw was the only positive as Great Britain missed the chance to ease themselves into the semi-finals.

A point against China would have put them in the last four with a match to spare but defeat means their qualification now looks slightly more precarious.

It is still in their own hands as a draw against Holland in their final Pool A match may even be enough but a win over the defending champions and world number ones on Monday would guarantee it.

On target: Fu Baorong celebrates her goal

On target: Fu Baorong celebrates her goal

Second-half penalty corner goals from Fu Baorong and Zhao Yudiao – Crista Cullen pulled back a late set-piece – did the damage as the Chinese took advantage of a lacklustre GB performance to put themselves back into semi-final contention.

Walsh's comeback – six days after breaking her jaw on this pitch when she was hit in the face – should have boosted the side but in fact they never really got going.

The 32-year-old Reading defender, who on Monday had an operation to insert a plate to stabilise the fracture, led the squad out wearing some protective strapping under her chin and slotted in like she had never been away.

She made a couple of low tackles without even flinching and her distribution was as crisp and precise as ever.

Miraculous return: Kate Walsh played with a head brace

Miraculous return: Kate Walsh played with a head brace

Unfortunately for GB they needed
their inspiration further up the field as they struggled to reproduce
the performances which had seen them score 12 goals in their first three
matches.

The closest
they came to scoring in the first half was from four late penalty
corners in succession, one of which saw Cullen fire a rebound from Laura
Bartlett's shot straight at goalkeeper Yimeng Zhang.

Walsh's
jaw had been the early focus but it was soon Anne Panter's as she went
in low for a tackle she was hit in the mouth by China defender Ma Wei's
undercut clearance.

She immediately disappeared down the tunnel with team doctor Graeme Wilkes for treatment.

On the chase: Alex Danson makes a break

On the chase: Alex Danson makes a break

Panter
returned pitch-side five minutes into the second half, just about in
time to see her team-mates fall behind when Fu Baorong's penalty corner
strike took a deflection to beat goalkeeper Beth Storry.

Another corner cost them a second as Zhao Yudiao deflected in Ma Yibo's pass in a well-executed set-piece.

Defender
Sally Walton at least forced a save out of Zhang from Chloe Rogers'
cut-back but the China goalkeeper was not tested anywhere near enough by
a home side trying to get themselves back in the game.

Cullen
flicked home a penalty corner with 80 seconds remaining but it came too
late to salvage the draw they so desperately wanted.

Holland 3 South Korea 2

Holland became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals with an unconvincing victory over South Korea in Pool A.

The Dutch made it four successive wins but they have still yet to impress as having got themselves into a commanding position early in the second half they allowed the Asian side back into the game.

Korea took a fifth-minute lead through Cheon Seul Ki's penalty corner but Holland bounced back quickly with a simple goal as Maartje Paumen's straight free-hit was deflected in by Lidewij Welten.

A Naomi van As dribble and pass set-up Ellen Hoog to put Holland ahead and seconds after half-time the improving Van As cut-back the ball for Carlien van den Heuvel to add a third.

But the Dutch appeared happy to sit on their lead and Korea grew in confidence as the clocked ticked down and when Cheon converted her second corner with six minutes to go it set up a tense finish.

Great Britain can join Holland in the last four, ahead of their final group meeting on Monday, with a point against China this afternoon.