KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team’s chances of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics all but vanished after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat against Great Britain in their quarter-final match of the Hockey World League in Antwerp, Belgium on Wednesday.
The Greenshirts needed to finish in the top three of the competition to ensure they go through to the Olympics but after the defeat, their chances are now heavily reliant on arch-rivals India and hosts Belgium finishing in the top three.
If India and Belgium finish in the top three then Pakistan might have a chance to progress as India have already qualified for the Olympics, courtesy their win in the 2014 Asian Games. On the other hand, Belgium will get a bye in the Olympics if they manage to win the Euro Hockey Nation Championship, which will be held from August 22 in London.
Read: 2016 Olympic qualifiers: Pakistan secure third place after draw
However, in order to make that scenario possible, the Greenshirts would have to finish at least fifth in the tournament and should they fail to do so, they would miss out on the Olympics for the first time in their history.
Pakistan started off well in the tie, but were unable to curtail the British attack, who appeared more comfortable on the ball as the match progressed and their efforts were justly rewarded with a goal when Chris Griffiths drew first blood in the fourth minute to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Alastair Brogdon extended the lead five minutes later through a brilliant reverse flick, which was deflected neatly into the net.
Read: Pakistan set for 2016 Rio Olympic journey
Britain managed to hold on to their two-goal advantage till the third quarter when the Greenshirts halved the deficit in the 48th minute through Umer Bhutta, who held his composure to find the back of the net after his first effort was blocked by Britain’s keeper.
The scoreline remained 2-1 at full time as Pakistan rued many missed chances, while Britain booked a semi-final bout against Australia, who won 4-1 over Ireland.