CAPTAIN Jonathan Phillips says a resilient self-belief was key to Great Britain's stunning gold medal success at the World Championships in Budapest.
Pete Russell's side clinched the point required for top spot in Division 1A and, with it, promotion to the top tier of the world game thanks to a Robert Farmer strike just 15 seconds from the end of regulation in the final match of the tournament against hosts Hungary.
Britain went on to win the game 3-2 after a penalty shootout to finish two points clear of the top of the group, second-placed Italy joining them in reaching the top tier. The last time GB were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Canada, Russia and Sweden was back in 1994.
Sheffield Steelers' forward Phillips captained GB to the gold medal in Division 1B last year in Belfast and has won countless league and play-off titles with his club but, not surprisingly, he described the achievements in Hungary as the highlight of his long and illustrious career.
"This is just the most amazing feeling," said 35-year-old Phillips. "It is the best moment in my career and I am never going to forget this. We worked so hard all week and we got what we deserved.
Ranked 24th in the world, GB went into the week-long tournament as the lowest seed and were written off by many as favourites to go straight back down after last year's promotion.
But Russell and his players stayed focused, worked ridiculously hard and were rewarded for their efforts when they won four of their five matches in an unforgettable week, defeating Slovenia, Poland and Italy, before overcoming the hosts in front of a vociferous, partisan crowd at the Laszlo Papp Sportarena on the final day.
"What we have achieved is out of this world," added Phillips. "We believed we could do it and that was so key. We had belief in ourselves from the moment we arrived and the confidence just built throughout the week.”