sport

Christiansen wary of Latvians

Great Britain assistant coach Doug Christiansen is aware of the threat Latvia offer ahead of the first game of their Olympic final qualifiers.

Christiansen and head coach Tony Hand watched Latvia train on Wednesday evening having arrived in the country earlier in the day for GB's biggest tournament for 65 years.

Britain, Olympic champions in 1936 and bronze medallists in 1924, have not qualified for the Winter Olympics - to be held in Sochi, Russia, next year - since 1948.

But they are just three games away from making history. Hand's side - ranked 21st in the world - face the hosts (seeded 11th) in their opening match on Thursday evening before taking on France (14th) on Friday and Kazakhstan (17th) on Sunday. The winner of the tournament will progress through to the Winter Olympics.

Christiansen said: "Latvia look very, very strong and every bit as good as we thought they would be.

"They are strong all over the ice and, even from watching their training session, it is obvious they are so talented.

"But we have our game plans for Thursday and we will work on them in practice in the morning.

"The spirit is excellent. The boys are relaxed but focused and they can't wait to step out on the ice."