Great Britain’s men’s hockey team will face India in the quarter-finals following a 2-2 draw with Belgium in their final match of pool B.
Rupert Shipperley gave them the lead in the second quarter when he stabbed home his first goal of the Olympic Games after a superb one-two between Liam Ansell and Zach Wallace on the left.
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GB then wasted a referral that they were left ruing when Jack Waller’s shot looked to have crossed the line. They could not appeal and the referee refused to refer it to himself, despite TV replays showing it was in.
Belgium seized upon the reprieve and levelled when Tom Boon’s deflected shot from a penalty corner deflected home.
Ansell then restored GB’s lead with a thumping but controlled finish before Belgium, who had won all of their previous group games, earned a draw through Thomas Briels.
The share of the spoils means GB end up third in the pool and avoid taking on Australia, with India up next on Sunday.
GB’s Oliver Payne was pleased with the result and admitted it was a strange conclusion as both sides played out the final moments knowing the score worked in their favour for the knockout stage.
He said: “Getting a point against the world number one, you’ll take it. It was a bit of a weird ending to the game but that’s tournament hockey, you know where you stand, so it’s the nature of the beast really.
“With it being such a long tournament, we wanted to work our way into it. It’s something we feel like we’ve been doing. You could have said we’d be playing anyone next and we’d have fancied it, that’s where we are as a group. We’ll fancy our chances against India but we’ll still respect what they bring. We’ll chill out tonight and then tomorrow we’ll recover and start preparing.”
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