Team GB’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Open football competition are hanging by a thread following a sub-standard performance in a 2-1 defeat against France at Neve Shaanan in Haifa.
Having drawn 1-1 against Argentina in their opening fixture, Jonathan Kestenbaum’s men were poor from start to finish. In order to progress from the group, they must beat Brazil by a couple of goals and hope results go their way elsewhere.
A lacklustre 20 minutes of cat and mouse saw each side feel the other out. GB came close on the half hour when a good ball into the box from Michael Sacks was laid off by Paul Hakim into the path of James Gershfield who flashed a volley over the bar.
Then out of nothing, the France No. 10 smashed a shot against the underside of the GB bar from 35 yards.
Les Blues created a series of chances with half time approaching but twice, Sydney based keeper Andrew Goldman came to GB’s rescue.
0-0 at half time, GB fans were hoping for more in the second half.
But it was France who made a dream start to the second half when a great strike from the edge of the box whistled past Goldman.
GB rallied and Mitch Hahn’s low free kick curled just past the post with the keeper beaten.
Minutes later, Ex-Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Scott Shulton latched on to a loose ball in a promising position in the box but his shot lacked conviction.
France were lucky to stay with 10 men on the pitch against the No. 7 took out Alex Levack with a two-footed tackle with both feet in the air.
Disaster struck 10 minutes from time when substitute Danny Berg failed to deal with a bouncing ball deep inside the GB half with the French striking running through to slide the ball past Goldman and into the far corner.
GB pulled one back in the closing stages. Hakim’s point-blank effort was parried by the keeper but the ball fell into the path of Jonathan Kurrant who placed a deft chip into the roof of the net.
It was too little, too late though meaning GB have it all to do against Brazil.
Results in the group to date: GB 1 Argentina 1, Brazil 2 France 0, Argentina 2 Brazil 0, GB 1 France 2
Remaining game: GB vs Brazil, Argentina vs France – on Friday
GB: Andrew Goldman, Alex Levack (sub: Danny Berg 75), Guy Morris, Michael Sacks, Guy Helman, Jonathan Kurrant, Sam Sloma (capt), Scott Shulton (sub: Daniel Stanton 75), Mitch Hahn, James Gershfield (sub: Matt Stock 55), Paul Hakim. Subs not used: Danny Berliner, Ben Lauffer
Sub: Michael Warwick on 70
In other football, Chelsea Berlin scored two long-range crackers to earn Team GB their first ever win in the Ladies football.
However, the 2-0 success over Canada was soon forgotten after they were thumped 13-0 by hot favourites Team USA on Wednesday.