Britain enter semis amidst controversy

Britain's men's hockey team reached their first Olympic semifinal in 24 years with a 1-1 draw against Spain in a tense game on Tuesday which was mired in late controversy.

Spain were awarded two penalty corners in the last two minutes but the umpires, encircled by British players, changed their decisions to give the hosts a free hit instead.

At the end, Spain coach Dani Martin stormed onto the pitch to confront the officials and keep his players from doing so.  He threatened ‘serious consequences’ if the organisers did not explain the disputed decisions and implied favouritism towards the hosts.

Britain needed a draw to progress while Spain, who lost two key players to injury at the start of the tournament, had to win and were perplexed over why the umpires changed their decisions.

“The (International Hockey Federation) needs to take this very seriously because it is a very serious situation,” Martin told reporters after congratulating Britain. “It cannot happen that an international official changes his decision twice just because he is surrounded by British players.”

The FIH reprimanded British skipper Barry Middleton for failing to control his team and its technical director was to speak with Spain, tournament officials said.

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