Updated: Wednesday, 23rd April 2014 @ 6:21pm

Manchester Phoenix's Tony Hand fails in mission to lead Great Britain's ice hockey team to 2014 Winter Olympics

Manchester Phoenix's Tony Hand fails in mission to lead Great Britain's ice hockey team to 2014 Winter Olympics

By Steven Oldham 

Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand has failed in his bid to lead Great Britain to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics after losing 4-2 to France today. 

Great Britain – aiming to reach their first Olympic finals since 1948 – are competing in a four team final playoff round in Riga against hosts Latvia, France and Kazakhstan. 

However, they lost their opening game to Latvia 6-2 and had to win against the French to stand any chance of qualifying. 

Consecutive defeats – combined with Kazakhstan’s 3-2 opening win over France yesterday –  means Hand’s men will be playing for pride in their final game against the Asian team on Sunday. 

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hand said: "Hopefully we'll learn from the experience and come back stronger."

Qualification through finishing as winners of this group was always going to be tough for GB, who have punched above their weight to reach this final qualifying stage. 

All three of their rivals are higher in the world rankings and played in the top pool of last year’s World Championships. 

To reach this stage, GB won a pre-qualification round against Romania, Japan and South Korea last year.

One high point for GB is a first goal for Nottingham Panthers and ex-Manchester Phoenix forward Robert Lachowicz, who netted one of his team’s goals in the defeat against France. 

Great Britain's last game is on Sunday against Kazakhstan and starts at 11.30.  Live coverage is on ESPN and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

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Photo courtesty of Manchester Phoenix, with thanks