London 2012: Injury worries as GB win Olympic test event

Great Britain's women beat world champions Argentina 2-0 to win the London 2012 hockey test event at the Olympic Park.

Crista Cullen scored twice but damaged her ankle and Alex Danson picked up a serious-looking shoulder injury.

"Crista will be fine. Alex? Who knows," said coach Danny Kerry, whose side did not concede a goal in four matches.

Analysis

The team seem relaxed about Crista Cullen's injury - she had crutches at the end of the game but was able to smile to fans and share a joke with coach Danny Kerry.

Alex Danson, however, left the arena immediately after the final whistle. Kerry, unable to extricate himself from a lengthy interview with a Chinese TV crew in order to check on his player, had no immediate news on Danson's condition, which appeared more serious.

Kerry now heads into a major Olympic selection meeting with a question mark over the fitness of his leading striker.

GB's men beat India 2-1 to take the bronze medal while Germany won the final with a 5-2 win over Australia.

The women can take a psychological boost from twice defeating Argentina 2-0 in back-to-back clashes, first in Saturday's group game then in Sunday's final, but the latter may not be worth injuries to players of Cullen and Danson's quality.

Both Cullen goals came from penalty corners in the second half at the Riverbank Arena and she rolled her ankle in the act of scoring the second, ending her participation with a suspected sprain.

Danson hurt her shoulder in a collision with an Argentine defender minutes later and left the field with a clear expression of agony on her face.

The 26-year-old has a history of shoulder trouble dating back to before the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the GB team have yet to confirm the severity of her injury.

There is an added complication: the British team's doctor is himself off sick, and not at the venue to treat the players.

Highlights - GB men 2-1 India

"I don't think Crista's injury is overly serious but Alex, we know less about," Kerry told BBC Sport. "She has a history of shoulder problems so I need to go and find out about that."

GB, who lost to Argentina in February's Champions Trophy on Argentine soil, won all four of their Olympic test event matches without conceding a goal, but Argentina are missing several key senior players including playmaker Luciana Aymar.

Captain Kate Walsh said: "It feels a bit bittersweet for me - brilliant to win, get another clean sheet and finish in a professional manner, but it's tinged with sadness for the two injuries.

"Crista scored two goals today and Alex has been on fire for the last five or six years, they are key players. But you know if somebody's out, somebody else will step up. That will carry us through the Games in the summer."

Coach Kerry, who is expected to inform the players of his Olympic squad in the next few days, now has an anxious wait for news on their recovery. His choices will be made public a week later.

"The main thing is we've played four games and not conceded a goal. If you've played 280 minutes and not conceded a goal, you're doing something right," he said.

Schedule and results

  • Wednesday: GB women 1-0 Korea, GB men 1-3 Germany
  • Thursday: GB women 3-0 China, GB men 4-2 India
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: GB women 2-0 Argentina, GB men 3-3 Australia
  • Sunday: Women's bronze play-off (South Korea 3-2 China), women's final (GB 2-0 Argentina), men's bronze play-off (GB 2-1 India), men's final (Australia 2-5 Germany)

All times BST.

"I don't think we've ever really hit our full form here. Once the pitch settles down and gets faster, I think you'll see a better team from us."

The team have one tournament left before the Games, a lower-key outing at the London Cup in Chiswick in June.

GB's men finished their Olympic test event with an encounter against India far more drab than the six-goal group game between the two.

VR Raghunath put away a penalty corner against Britain for the second time this week, but James Tindall levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Rob Moore's diving deflection secured the bronze medal midway through the second half.

"Our hockey's getting there," said captain Glenn Kirkham. "It's going to be the toughest Olympic Games for some time, certainly harder than Beijing was.

"Over the last few years, Australia and Spain in our Olympic group have been the two teams we've found it difficult to get past. The fight is between us for semi-final spots [at London 2012]."

Australia were comprehensively beaten by Germany, the world number two side, in a final that involved four penalty strokes.

Injuries mar hockey victory