Great Britain lost their opening Olympics 2014 qualifying match against Latvia

Last Updated: 07/02/13 9:26pm

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Latia's Gints Meija is tracked by Tait Ashley and Robert Farmer of Great Britain

Latia's Gints Meija is tracked by Tait Ashley and Robert Farmer of Great Britain

Sky Bet

Great Britain's quest to reach the 2014 Winter Olympics began with a 6-2 defeat to Latvia in final qualifying Riga on Thursday night.

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

Tony Hand's side held their own in the first period against their 11th-seed opponents before the hosts took over.

GB, ranked 21st, levelled through Robert Dowd after veteran netminder Stevie Lyle was beaten by Gints Meija.

Latvia converted their first powerplay of the night when Miks Indrasis took advantage of Ben O'Connor's interference penalty and they scored another powerplay marker at 29.50 through Oskars Bartulis.

Further strikes from Ronalds Kenins (43.24) and Georgijs Pujacs (53.07) made it 5-1 before GB added their second with a five-on-three powerplay goal from Craig Peacock at 57.47.

But Lauris Darzins (five-on-three powerplay) rounded off the scoring for the hosts with 18 seconds left.

Britain will face 14-ranked France on Friday after the French lost their opening match 3-2 to Kazakhstan.

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