In the quarter finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final to be played on Wednesday, group leaders England and Australia will face Belgium and India respectively. The surprise package Argentina will face New Zealand, while Germany and the Netherlands take up where they left off at the 2012 Olympics. Some mouth-watering encounters lie in wait for hockey fans around the world.
England v Belgium
Looking to the quarter finals, coach of the England team, Bobby Crutchley, is still not happy with the way his charges are playing and knows that the players cannot afford the numerous errors that have hallmarked their first three games in Pool A. "The other pool is tough and all four teams are very good sides," he said. "We have to build momentum but make no mistake, this is a good opportunity to take on some of the best teams in the world." Ashley Jackson, who scored two goals in yesterday's match against New Zealand, added that the team had shown a lot of resilience in the pool matches and this was an attitude that they must continue to demonstrate. Their opponents in the quarter finals, Belgium, are confident that the improvement in performance that saw them draw with the Netherlands will stand them in good stead. Tom Boon, who is currently top scorer in the tournament on four goals, said: "We will be watching videos of the England game and analysing them. England are the in-form team in this tournament, but we know we can beat them. All the previous results will mean nothing if we win at quarter final stage."
Germany v The Netherlands
Second place in Pool A went to Germany, the Olympic champions, and they will face their close European rivals the Netherlands in the quarter finals. Coach of the Netherlands Paul van Ass said: "We need to play the same system but play it more aggressively and we have to play with more rhythm. This is what we didn't do against Belgium. We always look forward to playing Germany. Netherlands captain, Robert van der Horst, said "Every team here will be challenging, because the best teams are competing here." If anyone doubted the importance of these matches to the players, then the words of German goalkeeper Tim Jessalut would reassure them: "We made mistakes in the match against India, but we only make mistakes once. Playing the Netherlands is the only motivation we need."
Argentina v New Zealand
New Zealand, who finished the pool stages in 3rd place will face the tournament's dark horse Argentina. Black Sticks coach Colin Batch spoke of the need for his team to stick to their game plan for "the whole 70 minutes," and Phil Burrows added: "We have to change a few things. But of course we are sure we can make the top four otherwise we wouldn't send a team in the pitch." Talking about the prospects for the quarter finals, Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat said "We know that we have to do much better than tonight." His coach, Carlos Retegui agreed "We are super satisfied with the group stage, because we are playing against the best teams in the world."
Australia v India
World champions Australia will play the home nation India. Russell Ford said: "We need to play with high intensity and need to put as much pressure on the opposition as we can." Ford's team mate Daniel Beale added: “I went to the Junior World Cup and we got beaten in the quarter final so I know how tough that can be. This is just another final; we’ve pretty much got three finals in a row. We’re definitely taking it like the grand final.” Terry Walsh, the coach of India, is looking forward to his encounter with the Australian team. He says that his team are on an upward curve and are learning all the time. "We played well tonight, and I hope that we can take the energy and vibrancy into the quarter finals, but this is all part of a growing process for this team."
Eight teams all taking one more step towards making their mark on the Hero Hockey World League Final.
Follow the action on the FIH event site.
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