If you’re going to have an international debut, you may as well have one that has you playing out of your skin against one of the best nations in the world in men’s field hockey, the Netherlands, in a penalty shoot-out in which you, the goalkeeper, save three out four of the shots to secure the win for your side.
Oh, and claim Player of the Match, too.
Such was the case for England and Great Britain’s goalkeeper, James Mazarelo, when he played at the FIH Pro League tournament in Argentina in December 2022.
But that performance isn’t even the best seen in the 22-year-old’s fledgling career.
Ahead of the EuroHockey Championships taking place in Mönchengladbach, Germany from 18-27 August, Olympics.com takes a look at three cracking viral plays from England and Great Britain’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, including Mazarelo’s performance for GB in an FIH Pro League match against Australia in April, described by the commentary team as, “absolutely world class”.
The squads are looking for more magic moments to add to their showreels, of course, but the winners of the men’s and women’s events in Germany can also secure a precious quota spot for their nations at Paris 2024 starting in less than a year’s time.
- Click here to see the official qualification system for each sport.
- As National Olympic Committees have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes’ participation at the Paris Games depends on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris 2024.
James Mazarelo’s goalkeeping heroics for GB
“What a save! That is absolutely world class from James Mazarelo! Put that at number one, two and three of your best saves!”
James Mazarelo had the commentators frothing at the mouth when he made a double save for GB in an FIH Pro League thriller against Australia in April, to edge the Antipodeans 2-1.
Already a Commonwealth Games silver medallist courtesy of second place on home turf at Birmingham 2022, not far from his Manchester origins, Mazarelo will no doubt be looking slightly further afield to Paris to continue to make his mark on the hockey world stage come this time next year.
England Hockey women become Commonwealth Games champions for the first time
England Hockey women collected plenty of hardware in the previous six Commonwealth Games prior to the home tournament at Birmingham 2022, but none of those medals were the really, really shiny one.
And so to the gold-medal match at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre, on 7 August, where they were to take on… you’ll never guess… Australia for the shiny-medal showdown.
For the first time ever, England took top spot, beating the four-time winners 2-1, to the delight of the home crowd.
Team GB women first ever Olympic gold medal
August appears to be the opportune moment for GB women to strike gold, boding well for this month’s EuroHockey tournament, as it was on 19 August 2016 that the squad became Olympic champions for the first time.
After the match finished 3-3 in normal time against defending champions, the Netherlands, with Britain’s keeper Maddie Hinch making a string of remarkable saves, it came down to the dreaded shootout.
And it was the Brits that ran out 2-0 winners on penalties leading to scenes of jubilation that GB women will be looking to repeat if they can qualify for the hockey tournament at Paris 2024, which starts at the Yves-du-Manoir stadium on Saturday 27 July.