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British women beat Argentina in hockey test amid tensions

Britain beat Argentina 2-0 on Saturday, in an Olympic women's hockey test event.

Women's hockey.
London Olympic games,hockey,Alex Danson,Britain hockey,Argentina hockey,Falkland Islands,Seb Coe,Philip Hammond,Fernando Zylberberg
Sport

LONDON - Britain beat Argentina 2-0 on Saturday, in an Olympic women's hockey test event. The win happened a day after London demanded Buenos Aires apologise for a TV advert featuring a male hockey player training in the disputed Falkland Islands.

Saturday's game at the blue and pink-surfaced Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park between 2008 bronze medallists Argentina and the Games hosts was the first of two matches between the sides.

They will play again in Sunday's final, after South Korea beat China 2-1 but finished behind Argentina on goal difference.

"It was a brilliant start and hopefully we can do the same again tomorrow," striker Alex Danson, who scored the first goal, told BBC television.

The match, on a wet afternoon, came against a backdrop of rising tensions between the two countries that has spilled over into the Olympic arena with less than three months to go before the Games start in London.

Britain accused Argentina on Friday of exploiting the Olympics for political purposes by broadcasting the "tasteless and insulting" advert that reasserted its claim to the Falklands.

The 90-second ad showed Argentine hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg training in the Falklands - the contested archipelago in the South Atlantic which the two countries fought over in 1982 - and exercising on the steps of a war memorial to British soldiers.

It ended with the voice-over: "To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil."

British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the advert was "a breach of one of the fundamental principles of the Olympics - that politics are set aside, that nobody should exploit the Olympic logo, the Olympic message for political purposes and I hope the IOC will be looking at that".

The broadcast in Argentina aired the day after the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentine cruiser Belgrano by a British submarine, which led to the loss of over 300 lives.

London Olympic chairman Seb Coe warned on Saturday against politicising the Games, saying they were a celebration of sport and not a political gathering.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Argentina's coach Carlos Retegui said the team had come only to play hockey.

"Sport has nothing to do with politics," he said. "We can talk about the Malvinas (Falklands) after the Olympics."

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