December 6 - There was disappointment for Britain's men's hockey squad today as they were crushed 8-1 by a lethal Spanish side in the crucial final pool A fixture of the Champions Trophy in Auckland, meaning their opponents progress to the next round at their expense.
Having lost 4-1 to Australia yesterday, Britain needed to beat Spain to pip them to the runners up spot in the pool, and it looked as though they would do just that when captain Barry Middleton gave them a 23rd minute lead.
It had been a quiet start up to that point, but Spain were stunned into action and equalised quickly, as their captain Santi Freixa threaded the ball to Eduard Tubau, who took advantage of the time and space afforded to him to slot home.
With Britain reeling, David Alegre (pictured centre) combined with Pau Quemada to set him through and he fired past George Pinner to give Spain the lead to cap a stunning turnaround.
Pinner was now being called into action regularly and he was required to prevent Freixa from netting a third in quick succession.
It didn't take long for Spain to increase their lead though as Freixa got past Richard Mantell and Iain Lewers before firing a shot home for 3-1.
If Britain thought they'd get away with just a two goal deficit at the break, Spain had other ideas, and Gabriel Dabanch got a fourth just before half time to give Jason Lee's men an uphill struggle in the second period.
The Britons went for broke but the space afforded to their opponents only made things worse, not better, with Juan Fernandez (pictured right) making it five after pouncing on a loose ball in the circle.
Britain continued to battle and Glenn Kirkham went close twice, but they could not take advantage of two green cards for the Spanish and were made to pay.
Tubau went close once more for Spain before Mark Gleghorne had another opportunity to give Britain hope, but Spain countered from the next move with Freixa clinically firing in the sixth.
Roc Oliva struck twice more in the final minutes to inflict more misery on Britain, and Lee afterwards lamented the concession of soft goals after going in front.
"We did well to get ahead in the game and then conceded two of the softest goals you'll ever see," he said.
"We found ourselves chasing the game from then on.
"Our skill and execution were very poor."
Great Britain now go into the play offs for fifth to eighth place alongside Pakistan, South Korea and Germany.
Spain join reigning champions Australia, hosts New Zealand and Pool B winners the Netherlands for the chance to lift the trophy.
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