Daly targets top four finish for Team GB hockey boys

Matt Daly is confident the hockey team can challenge for a medal

Matt Daly is confident the hockey team can challenge for a medal

First published in Sport

Surbiton Hockey Club star Matt Daly insists the Team GB men’s squad are well placed to challenge for a medal at London 2012 – with a semi-final berth the minimum target for an ambitious group of players.
 

Daly was part of the side that travelled to Beijing ranked ninth in the world four years ago and no one’s tip for a podium berth – a fifth-place finish surpassing most expectations.
 

Now older and wiser, Surbiton-based Daly has been at the forefront of Britain’s rapid rise to fourth in the world rankings in recent years and he believes the chances of a medal are now genuine.
 

The last time the men achieved such a feat at the Olympics was the gold in Seoul in 1988, but Daly insists they will never have a better chance of writing their names into hockey folklore.
 

“I think we’ve got a really good chance, the fact that we’re ranked fourth means we should be expecting to reach the semi-finals,” said the 29-year-old.
 

“I think we can, fingers crossed, and then anything can happen from there, but this is a big chance.
 

“The mood in the camp has been brilliant. It has been tough because we’ve been a big squad of 27 players and we’ve had to get it down to 18, but the guys that haven’t made the team have been really supportive and their efforts have been fantastic.
 

“It made it that little bit more real when the team was announced a few weeks ago. It still felt a long way off, and we still have a bit more training to do, so until we actually step foot on that pitch it’s about trying to keep things under wraps.
 

“We’ve prepared really well, recently we’ve had the test event which was a good benchmark for what to expect come the actual Games.”
 

Daly was part of the England side that claimed European Championship gold for the first time in 2009 and he admits that was the catalyst for the surge in self-belief that has engulfed the British squad.
 

A persistent knee injury suffered in 2010 almost put his participation at this summer’s Games in doubt, but the Saud Arabia-born forward insists he cannot wait to step out at the Riverbank Arena on July 30.
 

He added: “The home crowd will be hugely important.
 

“Little things like that can spur you on and get you over the finishing line.
 

“We have a lot of tough games, so it’s important we get off to a good start.”
Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012.

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