The 2012 Champions Trophy quarterfinal games are set and an exciting day of hockey awaits the fans in Melbourne and around the world as the evenly-matched field plays the all-or-nothing games.
For the men’s Champions Trophy, it is the first time-ever that the new quarterfinal system has been used where the top seed from one pool crosses over the play the bottom seed from the other pool, while the second and third seeded teams do the same. The format has been the source of spirited debate in international hockey circles, but like it or hate it, eight teams will be trimmed down to four at the end of tomorrow.
So what does history have to say about the teams’ chances tomorrow? Below we take a look at how the squads have fared in previous Champions Trophy meetings:
Germany vs. Pakistan:
These two teams are familiar foes at the Champions Trophy, having already met an amazing 27 times (including West Germany). The Germans have the advantage in the head-to-head meetings, with 12 wins, 9 losses and six draws. But what is noteworthy is the fact that Germany has scored only two more goals than Pakistan in all those meetings despite holding the clearly stronger record. If previous results are the crystal ball for tomorrow’s game, look for Germany to win by a slim margin.
Netherlands vs. New Zealand:
The Dutch are one of the most experienced teams at the Champions Trophy and will take on one of the relative rookies in their quarterfinal meeting against New Zealand. Despite lack of Champions Trophy caps for the Black Sticks, the two nations have still met six times in Champions Trophy history. The Dutch have won four of those meetings, drawn once and lost only once. The lone loss came in 2010 in a 3-1 preliminary round decision. The cards are definitely stacked against the Black Sticks historically in Thursday's game. Add to the fact that the Netherlands is the top seed out of its pool and it means New Zealand will have to bring their A Game tomorrow to stay in the hunt for a medal.
India vs. Belgium:
When the top-seeded Indians square off against the fourth-seeded Belgians, it is truly anyone’s guess what will happen. This is Belgium’s first Champions Trophy appearance in the small nation’s history, and they are still looking for their first point at this level after going 0-3 in the preliminary round. India had a spectacular preliminary round, but also has limited recent experience at the Champions Trophy with their last appearance at the event coming in 2005. The history books are no help in predicting the winner of this one, so our tip is to simply hold on to your hats and enjoy the ride.
Australia vs. England:
Much like the first match of the day, this meeting between two hockey giants is steeped in tradition. The sides have met an epic 23 times, with host Australia holding the clear advantage with 16 wins, 7 draws and zero losses (includes Great Britain results as well). Yes, that’s right, never have the Aussies lost against England and add to the lopsided record the fact that Australia has out-scored England nearly two to one in those meetings (61-30). But there is hope for the northern nation, England had also never won against Germany prior to this edition of the Champions Trophy and managed to put that streak to an end with a win on Sunday. Clearly the young English squad is unfazed by previous results and Thursday could be England’s chance to at last get the elusive victory against the Aussies, despite history being in the hosts’ favour.
Statistical assistance from BG Joshi
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